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Snake River Fandom Con highlights golden opportunity for East Idaho Fans

The Art of Nerding Out

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POCATELLO – A pop culture convention is a beautiful thing. Such events are kaleidoscopes swirling with colorful costumes, gleaming suits of armor and faces filled with awe and wonder. For years, East Idaho has been bereft of these fan events and local pop culture enthusiasts have had to travel to Boise or Salt Lake to get their geek on.

That is until the Snake River Fandom hit Pocatello last year. The success of the con has thrown a spotlight on an undeniable fact: East Idaho nerds are hungering for more of these kinds of festivities.

It also reveals that local fans have a very exciting opportunity before them. They have an opportunity to grow and develop the geek community. They have an opportunity forge new friendships, strengthen old ones and give people who may feel out of place somewhere they can feel at home.

To build up the East Idaho fandom community, there are a few things you can do:

ATTEND CONS AND OTHER EVENTS. It’s a sad fact of life that conventions, Renaissance fairs and the like are costly to put on. Organizers have to pay talent, rent venues, post ads and other promotional materials. They need financial support to continue. So when a convention or similar event rolls into town, you need to turn out for it. Bring your friends. By supporting local cons, you can help draw more events and ensure that events we already have continue to grow and get better.

GO CLUBBING. One of the more inspiring panels I went to at this year’s Fandom Con was the skit put on the by Snake River Defenders. This group of costumers dedicated Marvel’s Defenders Superhero team has given its members friendships and a place to practice their costuming and drama skills. And they have a blast doing it!

Fan clubs like this one are terrific places to interface with like-minded folks, form friendships and develop your talents. And with social media, it’s easier than ever to reach out and find people who love the same stuff you do. So if you’ve been thinking of starting a “Big Lebowski” or “Vampire Hunter D” fan group, there’s never been a better time than now!

SHOW OFF. Some of the biggest attractions in the Fandom Con vendor hall are the “Star Wars” costuming and prop groups like the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and the R2 Builder Club. People’s faces light up when they see these cats sporting screen-accurate costumes and armor. These costumes often are the result of a multitude of skills and abilities group members employ in building their armor, weapons and droids. Just seeing these guys all dressed up is enough to inspire lovers of “Star Wars” to want to build costumes of their own.

So if you can draw or write or make awesome costumes, don’t keep that to yourself. Let people see your skills and abilities. You’ll fire up their imaginations, inspire them to make their own costumes. You’ll also help to strengthen the geek community and maybe even make some new friends.

SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW NERDS. Nerd culture is infamous for being combative. People arguing passionately, sometimes angrily, over their opinions. But you don’t have to love what someone else loves to support them in their geeky endeavors. If you hate “Supernatural” you can still cheerlead for your bubby who’s cosplaying Castiel. If you detest “Doctor Who” you can still be impressed when the Dalek someone’s spent months building. If you know someone who’s trying to make a fan film, you can go help out without being a fan of the subject matter. A rising tide will life all nerds, so give each other some upward momentum.

We can do this, East Idaho. We now have a local fandom convention and a local Ren faire. There was a Great Geek Gathering in Rexburg this past summer. The ball is already rolling, but it’s up to us to keep it rolling. We can start our own clubs, put together our own conventions and build up our own geek community so we’re relegated to participating in someone else’s. We just need to band together and do the work. After all, a rising tide will lift all nerds.

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