The Geek Issue | Cover Story | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

September 04, 2019 News » Cover Story

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Beyond FanX

Other annual geeky Utah gatherings.
By Colette A. Finney and Scott Renshaw

Utah goes crazy for all things Halloween, and that extends beyond corn mazes, professional haunted houses and home haunts. The annual FearCon (Oct. 11-12 at the Riverbend Event Center) is a two-day celebration of all things horrific, Halloween-y and otherwise scareifying. Interactive and participatory events are the focus, including a requirement that vendors on the show floor dress up themselves to get into the full spirit of the event. Meet celebrity guests—including Tyler Mane (Michael Myers in the Rob Zombie Halloween films) and Tara Reid (Sharknado)—or catch panel discussions on horror-themed topics. You can watch live demonstrations of special effects make-up technicians, or experience the live wonder of Vampire Circus. It's all the terror you could want in one place. (SR)

Anime Banzai
Loyal fans of anime never miss the yearly convention typically held in October (Oct. 18-20 this year). Within a family-friendly atmosphere, Utah's largest anime gathering is centered around the education and expansion of Anime pop-culture in Utah. Running three days from dawn until dusk are immersive activities such as gaming competitions, celebrity guests, panels, children's fun, cosplay and much more, with exciting new events added every year. Revealing inner heroes or villains, guests can participate in the popular cosplay contest, which grants numerous awards for creativity. Other attendee-driven opportunities include formal and informal dances, as well as secondhand sales and scavenger hunts. For a more relaxed adventure, visitors can play in the arcade, view the Exhibitor's Hall or take a walk down the Artist Alley showcasing the work of local and out-of-state artists. Be sure to check out the silent auction supporting local charities. (CAF)

Salt Lake Gaming Con
Gamers, geeks and pop-culture aficionados from all walks look forward to the yearly Gaming Con every July. As one of the largest gaming conventions in the United States, the attraction is a fan favorite, offering a weekend of continuous entertainment. Whether a casual player or serious competitor, the event has a variety of games for all. From old school pinball and tabletop games to retro games like Tetris all the way through the latest and greatest, they feature one of the largest selection of video games around. For those eager to compete, there are over 40 tournaments via all game systems. While checking out the scene, guests can also visit the large assortment of gaming specific vendors or try Live Action Role Play (LARP). Rounding out the action are panels covering everything from gaming advice to breaking out in the business along with a chance to meet special celebrity guests. (CAF)

In early August, the Salt Lake County Library System's Viridian Events center hosts an anime-centric event with a unique focus on teens—not just as attendees, but as full participants in helping create it. ToshoCon is exclusively for attendees age 12-19, who get the opportunity to participate in cosplay, anime video and original art contests, with giveaways of merchandise and movie screenings. Panel programming is also created by teens, who can submit their ideas and plan and conduct the discussions for their peers. Even the vendor marketplace is all about the youth, who can sell their own original crafts, artwork and more. (SR)

Utah Renaissance Faire
Experience authentic medieval times at the annual Utah Renaissance Faire. Held over a weekend in August at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, this is a family-friendly event with multi-sensory shenanigans for everyone without spending a fortune. Included in the two-day general admission ticket is access to more than 120 shows and a variety of food and merchandise vendors, as well as artisans demonstrating their crafts. Scheduled attractions like live jousting, armored combat fights, fire artists, music acts and dancers provide nonstop entertainment. Plus, kids will enjoy the wandering performers offering comedy, magic and juggling while an assortment of hands-on activities abound. Costumes are not required but certainly encouraged, along with an occasional "huzzah!" Escape to a magical time where one can find Vikings, mermaids, pirates, knights, and fairy folk sharing the same village in peace. Parades, pageantry and performers, oh my. (CAF)

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