MonsterCon: The Little Convention That Could
San Diego Comic Con may be over and Dragon Con may be more than a month away, but all over the country there are still several conventions to look forward to. For example, in the upper south there’s Fandom Fest in Kentucky, taking place this coming weekend; while in the north east there’s Boston Comic Con, which has been rescheduled for the first weekend in August after the bombings causing it to be canceled back in April – and by rescheduling they’ve actually been able to add some more awesome guests, such as Dean O’Gorman and Aiden Turner (Fili and Kili from The Hobbit). Moving into mid-August you’ve got Wizard World Chicago in the mid west and Tampa Bay Comic Con in the Gulf area of the south.
Personally, though, I’m here to write about MonsterCon in Greenville, South Carolina. Greenville is a small (but beautiful!) city located in upstate South Carolina, about two hours from Atlanta, GA (the home of Dragon Con), and an hour and a half from Charlotte, NC (home Con Carolinas and Heroes Con). I’ve lived here for nearly four years now, and to be honest I’ve wondered – quite a few times – why we didn’t have our own convention, even if it had to be a small one. Well, a Greenville convention became a reality when MonsterCon, which was originally held in North Carolina, decided to change locations and to give Greenville a try.
MonsterCon is the largest 3-day multi-fandom convention in South Carolina and is produced for the fans, by the fans. This convention will feature everything from celebrity guests (including David Prowse, a.k.a. Darth Vader, and several zombies from AMC’s hit television show The Walking Dead) to a vendor room featuring collectibles, toys, comics and more. There will be gaming happening every day, including Magic the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, as well as panels covering everything from cosplay to indie publishing to the Star Wars Universe to Song of Ice & Fire/Game of Thrones. I became involved with MonsterCon thanks to connections I’ve made in the Greenville area as well as through attending other conventions. I’m understandably excited for this convention, and even more so because of the hoops the organizers have jumped through in order to make MonsterCon a reality – and very likely a better one than they ever even attempted to hope for.
You see, as MonsterCon weekend approached, it became clear that the venue they had booked was not going to work out…but rather than throw in the towel, the organizers went out of their way to find a new, bigger venue – one that will allow them to sell a lot more tickets, have more vendor space, and give cosplayers a beautiful outdoor area for pictures. The place that stepped up and agreed to be a part of this convention so last minute is Timmons Arena at Furman University. Additionally, most of the nightlife activities are going to be held in downtown Greenville at a great bar called Ford’s, which is located right next to the city’s somewhat infamous Falls Park. They were even able to get room blocks set up at two of the nicest hotels in all of Greenville – the Hampton Inn and Courtyard Marriott, both located on South Main Street in downtown, just blocks from Ford’s.
I have to say that these last-minute changes were a wonderful example of how the geek community cares about its fans and works together to accomplish things. After running into issues with parking and capacity – plus a few other rumored problems – at the original venue, the guys heading up MonsterCon could have taken the easy (and cheap) way out and canceled/rescheduled. But they’d seen over and over again how Greenville was embracing their convention, and they refused to give up that easily. For that I applaud them, and I must say that if you’re in the area and can make it to MonsterCon for a day – or if you want to book a room at one of the aforementioned hotels and make a weekend out of it – I’m certain that it will be well worth your time (and money).
Tickets can be purchased online via the tickets link on the MonsterCon website, through the end of the day tomorrow – Wednesday July 24th; and then at Timmons arena beginning at 2:30 PM Friday July 26th. I for one will be there!