Love something? Chances are, there’s a convention for it.
You know what brings people together? A shared love of something. For example, let’s say you like gardening. I, too, like gardening! As such, we hit it off, start talking about our passion for gardening, and plan to meet on a regular basis to chat about flowers I’ve planted that the butterflies will love and the new privacy hedge that’s changed your life. Obviously, other people are fond of things—like gardening—and they decide to meet annually to express their fondness. This is how conventions are born. And here’s a few, shall we say, peculiar ones the public needs to know about.
Association of Lincoln Presenters
WHERE: Springfield, Illinois
When: April 16-19, 2020
Compromised of around 150 attendees, the Association of Lincoln Presenters (ALP) sees many of those that show up decked out as Abraham Lincoln or Mary Todd Lincoln. Their mission? To “honor the words and works of the Lincolns.” Since the first convention in 1990 (by 1995 the gathering had 76 Abes and 22 Marys), each convention’s Lincoln-clad speakers aim to educate and inspire and many use music, humor, and history to enlighten people of all ages. The last ALP took place in Amicalola Falls, Georgia, April 11-14.
WHERE: Baltimore Sheraton Inner Harbor
When: November 1-3, 2019
FaerieCon is fun for the whole family—there’s a “Motrthic Marketplace” with over 70 “internationally-recognized” artists who sell a variety of handmade faerie-related arts and crafts, a costume contest, and mystical tunes. It’s not required that you come in costume to this meeting of mystical minds, but it sure helps to break the ice. Of the live music featured at this year’s FaerieCon, convention-goers can expect to see FAUN, a band who uses instruments like the Celtic harp and key fiddle to create an enchanting atmosphere. The Masquerade Balls are apparently the highlight of the weekend. On Friday and Saturday, these Balls feature Good Faeries and Bad Faeries dancing to “amazing music,” and coordinators have been known to unveil something special during the celebrations.
INSIDER TIPAlcohol is served at the Masquerade Balls, so those aren’t the most kid-friendly events offered at FaerieCon.
International UFO Congress
WHERE: Phoenix, AZ
When: September 4-8, 2019
Allegedly the Guinness World Record Holder for Largest UFO Conference, this annual get-together has been going 28 years strong. A ticket to the event will get you seats at five days’ worth of informative lectures from noteworthy UFO investigators, journalists, filmmakers, and researchers who will cover a wide variety of topics that include UFO sightings, alien abductions, and crop circles. Additionally, you’ll get to attend a couple of dinner banquets and enjoy some drinks on the house. The convention also hosts a film festival and, according to the website, if you arrive early enough, you can be a guest judge! This year, guests can choose to be part of the Skywatch Excursion, where they’ll hike to Phoenix’s Sky Mountain and gaze up at the stars with night vision goggles.
The World Santa Claus Conference
Every year, the world’s oldest amusement park opens its doors to Santas from all over the planet who gather to celebrate, well, Santa. Though 2019’s festivities have come and gone, keep an eye out for next year’s gathering at Dyrehavsbakken “Bakken.” This meeting of Kris Kringles was initially founded in 1957 by one Professor Tribini who believed that Christmas should occur more than just once a year. Organized in part by the Danish Santa Claus Guild, The World Santa Claus Conference sees attendees donning not only Kris Kringle attire, but also their best pixie and elf looks as they parade through the streets, partake in an obstacle course, and let their beards down (hehe) at a Christmas Tree party in Nisseskoven over the convention’s five-day duration.
The Sunburst Convention and Showcase of Celebrity Impersonators
WHERE: Orlando, Florida
When: August 28 – September 1, 2019
A convention to the stars! Or, rather, a convention dedicated to the stars, this annual assembly invites impersonators, impressionists, and lookalikes from everywhere to come dressed as their best celebrity. Complete with a “Kickoff Party” and a “Wrap Party,” the event’s an excellent opportunity for those interested in the art of impersonating to come and network, inspire, be inspired, and just enjoy themselves (even if they’re dressed as someone else). Per its site, you’ll leave The Sunburst Convention and Showcase of Celebrity Impersonators with “many more friends and fans than when you came in!”
International Ventriloquist Convention
WHERE: Cincinnati, Ohio
When: July 15-18, 2020
Set to be held next year at the Holiday Inn Cincinnati Airport (just 15 minutes south of the city itself), the Vent Haven ConVENTion is the world’s oldest and largest consistent meeting of ventriloquists. If you’re looking to become a better ventriloquist or simply curious and want to more about the art form, there’s no better place or time; and the organization behind the convention encourages newcomers! “I have never fit in so well so quickly with so many. I am still a bit confused by that,” said a conVENT-goer in a peculiar (but positive) review on the Convention’s official Facebook page.” Registration to the eVENT (sorry) will also snag you a free tour of the nearby Vent Haven Museum–the world’s only museum of ventriloquist figures—and seats (or spots!) at an “Open Mic” session(s).
WHERE: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
When: July 10-12, 2020
If you’re a fan of science fiction, the 1980s, and/or The Blob films, this stampede is for you. Literally, part of the get-together is a Run Out, where ticketholders flee the theater—just like in the movie(s)! However, this sprint is totally safe and coordinated. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to check out a Streetfair that has artwork and props from the film(s) on display and tune into double features like the Forbidden Planet and Teenagers from Outer Space, both of which have played at Blob bashes oh yesteryear.
“A Salute to Xena [Warrior Princess]”
WHERE: Los Angeles
When: August 28-30, 2020
This is exactly what it sounds like, and thank god because Xena is the hero we need right now. This is the 25th year for this badass convention, and attendees will meet celebrities—including the Warrior Princess herself Lucy Lawless—get lit at a Karaoke Party, witness a live musical (that’s right) event starring some of the Xena guests (details on this are currently sparse), and show off their cosplay!
INSIDER TIPThe convention is intended for adults as there could be profanity and/or mature humor used by guests onstage. Children can attend but, according to the rules, they must be accompanied by an adult.