Not everyone can make it to San Diego’s infamous Comic-Com extravaganza and not every town hosts a comic convention. For those of us who fall into those categories, hosting a small town comic con may be the only way to attend one. While it won’t be easy and may take months of planning, hosting your own comic convention can be a rewarding endeavor. Here are a few tips to get started.
Find a Venue
You don’t have to host your first comic con at the biggest venue in town. In fact, starting out small is in your best interest if you want everything to go smoothly. Libraries and VFW Posts usually have spaces for rent. So do local museums and community centers. Try each one of these organizations. Compare prices and see which one works best for your budget.
Promote, Promote, Promote
You’ll need to promote your comic convention if you want people to attend. Start your promotional efforts with your circle of friends and local comic book store. Branch out by posting flyers around town and advertising on social media outlets such as Facebook, which has relatively inexpensive advertising opportunities. Contact a reporter at your local newspaper to get an article about your convention in the paper. You’ll also want the convention added to the newspaper’s event calendar, which might cost a few bucks.
The more you promote, the more people who will attend. Check out the event-planning tips provided by the University of Illinois Public Affairs division.
Fuel the Fun
To really make your convention standout, try pairing food and beverages. India Pale Ales (IPA) are very trendy and make tasty additions to any event. Since we are big fans of English IPAs right now (they have a smoother flavor profile, in our opinion), especially Guinness Nitro IPA, include a few of them on the menu. These hoppy IPAs pair well with spicy foods such as Buffalo wings or jalapeño poppers. Guinness Nitro IPA, which has a hint of citrus in it, also goes well with deserts such as key lime pie and lemon tarts.
Remember: if you serve alcoholic beverages at the convention, it’s important to have all the proper licenses and permits in place to avoid getting busted for illegally serving alcohol. As an alternative, partner with a bar and hold an after-party at their establishment.
Cos Play Parade
People will put a ton of effort into fine-tuning their convention costumes. Help them show off their hard work with a costume parade around the convention venue. Let the crowd pick the top three costumes, and then reward the winners with prizes.
Give Back to the Community
It’s important to give back to your local community, and you will have a great opportunity to do so at your convention. If you manage to get the famous 501st Legion to send a platoon of storm troopers to your event, they will require a donation to charity. Follow their lead. Pick a reputable charity, set up a silent auction and/or raffle, and donate the earnings to charity. It’s not only good karma, it helps connect your event to the community.