June 7-9, 2019 | Blair County Convention Center | Altoona, PA
Sci-Fi Valley Con was Altoona’s place to be this past weekend for all things geeky. Promoted by Assett Conventions and operated by Casey B. Bassett, this was the third year, “part three” of this amazing convention that originated in Ebensburg. Part two was moved to the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona, and was held there again this year. I found out about the 2013 convention last year through a friend and was privileged to be able to attend part two and subsequently part three this past Friday and Saturday. The Convention ran Friday June 27 through Sunday June 29.
Sci-Fi Valley Con was a great starter convention for me. Before last year I had never been to a science fiction convention at all. Living in central Pennsylvania, you don’t get some of the opportunities you wish you had, where specialty events are concerned. The area surrounding Altoona is very rural. Until roughly two years ago, I was convinced there weren’t many other geek guys and gals like myself around these parts. So when I heard that there was going to be a local science fiction convention, I jumped at the chance to go. I had a complete blast at Sci-Fi Valley Con Part Two. There was a lot to do, and I met some great people, including The Geek Girl Project. For a local convention, it topped my expectations.
Having enjoyed part two so much, it was a given that I would have to go this year. I even attempted my first Steampunk outfit, and my first cosplay as Myka Bering of Warehouse 13. Let me tell you, there is no such thing as simple in the cosplay world. The amount of work and thought that goes into it is astounding. But even with all the pressures, I’ll gladly be cosplaying again in the future. Getting dressed in costume felt like I’d been given a license to play! There were a good many costumes last year, but there were easily twice as many this year. The quality of them was fantastic, a lot of attention to detail. I was thrilled to see the turn out of participants in costume and entered in the costume contest. So many entered that it took nearly two hours to get everyone through. It was impressive. People sang and put together some really great skits. I was also tickled pink to see so many children in attendance, even a few infants in costume, and was proud to watch cosplayers so graciously take pictures with them. These kids got to walk up to their heroes and have their dreams come true. Talk about putting a smile on your face. The geek culture will continue.
Everything was bigger and even better this year. My favorite parts of the convention this year would have to be the green screen photo crew (The Sci-Fi Photo Guys who created the image above) and getting to hang out around all the cool cars and centerpieces. There were five vehicles, not including The Doctor’s ride, The TARDIS, which I gleefully got to have my picture taken in. The other five vehicles included, Christine, The Ghostbusters Car, The Batmobile, The Jurassic Park Jeep, and The Delorean from Back to the Future. The Delorean, my personal favorite, was complete with props from the films, including Marty’s futuristic apparel and Hoverboard. For the ten dollars it cost to sit in it, I’m pretty sure my life was made. They helped pose you in about four of five different pictures with it, including the classic poster shot, worth every penny. Also, a main focal point this year was a 21ft inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow man, every bit as big as it looked in pictures. I geeked out over the little touches such as: The “may the odds be ever in your favor” at the prize entry stations, and the “Velociraptor free workplace” signs around the Jurassic Park jeep and table.
The place was absolutely packed this year with artists, tables and guest panels to visit. So much so that it was hard to cover everything. I couldn’t help but practically bounce around from one thing to another. Table top games and tournaments, to homemade candy and handmade pieces like Police Telephone box signs. I saw such beautiful artwork as I walked through, I could only dream to be that talented. Saturday was busiest, with plenty of people. Both Friday and Saturday. I attended with friends, and it was a job to get through crowds without losing anyone. There were two floors of tables this year in comparison to one floor last year, which shows how quickly this convention is developing. Floor plans had to go through several stages to fit every artist, group and vendor. Plain and simple, there was something for everyone. If you could imagine it, it was probably there somewhere. I invested in a couple new comics, got a new Doctor Who pin, and few small pieces of artwork. My only regrets are that I didn’t get to attend The Geek Girl Project panel or play in the Mario Kart 64 gaming tournament. I would’ve kicked butt. Oh well, there’s always next time!
Plans are already in motion for the 2015 convention. It will make it’s (probably) final move to the Blair County Convention Center where it can continue to grow and expand. Check out Sci-Fi Valley Con on Facebook where you can see pictures as well as reviews from others in attendance, and take a look at their website for information on this year’s convention and future ones. The Geek Girl Project hopes to see you at part four!
-Nichole Cordell, The Geek Girl Project