Since we formed our Alucard Press we have done literally dozens of geek culture cons. Small cons, big cons, new cons and established cons Some have been successful for us, other less so. The main lesson we have learned is that you can never predict how a con is going to go. We have been at brand new cons that were a total blast to be part of and at established cons that were a complete shit show.
So we, more than some other vendors have always been willing to roll the dice on brand new first year cons. Last year at Central City Comic Con in Yakima we were approached by two women who were trying to round up vendors for a planned new convention to be held in Wenatchee that would be called Wen-Con. They gave us a very polished sales pitch and left us with a business card.
Us being us we signed up and began planning a road trip to Wenatchee.
A little background, the idea of Wen-Con came to Cal FitzSimmons, the editor of the newspaper The Wenatchee World after reading about the success of the first year of Central City Comic con in nearby Yakima. If a convention could succeed there, why not in Wenatchee? The idea bounced around for a while before it caught the attention of Melissa Pitts who submitted a proposal to run a pop culture con. She and others formed a committee to plan that con and partnered both with the Wenatchee World and Toyota Town Center to make it happen. Seven short months later, the event happened on April 8th, 2017.
Their expectations were modest, they had been told that Wen-Con would be lucky to attract 200 attendees as a first year one day con. They had also been told that it would be hard to attract vendors. Well, boys and girls, over 1700 guests and 75 vendors showed up!
Not too shabby for a first-year con held in a freaking hockey rink eh? Nobody was more surprised than me.
I set up expecting a lazy day of chatting with customers, selling a few books and wandering Wen-Con talking to other bored vendors. Instead, we were borderline slammed all the live long day.
A staffer came by and warned us a few minutes before opening that there were over a hundred people in line to get into Wen-Con.
The people just kept on coming in, a good chunk of them in cosplay. Lots of families with kids in tow and people of all ages and description. All of them excited to be part of this first ever of its kind in Wenatchee event.
I have to give the organizers, staffers and volunteers credit. I have never vended at a better run first-year con, ever. Not a single glitch complicated our day, the event ran like a well-oiled machine and put some more established cons I have attended to complete shame. As busy as it was it ran like a dream. Kudos to all involved in pulling this off. The plan is to expand it into a two-day event next year and we will definitely be there.
Five Bananas for this excellent new addition to our con circuit! Wen-Con, you rock!