Snake River Fandom Con canceled, but opportunities to grow local fandom live on
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POCATELLO – Snake River Fandom Con has provided east Idaho with a full weekend of nerdy mirth and merriment for the past two years. But a statement went up on the convention’s website and Facebook page Monday morning announcing the con’s cancellation due to serious health issues affecting its owner.
“Everyone on the staff have sincerely loved putting on Snake River for the past two years,” the statement reads in part. “The communities that we have become a part of in this area are very dear to all of us.”
Members of local fandoms have been expressing their heartache over the convention’s cancellation as well.
“Everyone seems to be really sad,” said the spokesperson for the Snake River Defenders cosplay group, who goes by KidXister. “The con wasn’t just an event for people to waste money on useless junk and art — it was also a great way for people to connect.”
Losing Snake River Fandom Con is a big blow to east Idaho fandom, as it helped satisfy an appetite for similar events in the area.
“Everyone in southeast Idaho wants, needs, a con to give us an outlet to share our interests and make new friends,” KidXister said. “Many of us don’t have the means or resources necessary to leave the area to visit other cons further away.”
“This is recognized as something the area not only needs, but wants,” said SRFC spokesperson Tanglwyst de Holloway. “That shouldn’t die because one person can’t afford to pay for it all.”
What’s next? It’s up to the fans
Losing the convention may also be an opportunity in disguise. Now that local fans have seen that such events are possible in east Idaho, they now have the chance to serve and grow their own community by planning and staging mini-con and other pop culture events themselves.
“There is a huge fandom community here, and I want people to band together and do their own mini-cons,” said de Holloway.
She gave a few tips about where to start for those interested in putting on their own cons. These include choosing a name for your con, deciding what kind of con you want to put on, and picking an owner and a board of directors to finalize the decisions that affect your con.
Mathew Jensen, a co-founder of the East Idaho Renaissance Faire, also offered a few tips.
“Be a fan and be willing to put on the best event you can,” he said. “Don’t skimp on quality.”
He also recommended offering activities that appeal to a broad audience, planning long term and building your event gradually.
“Don’t do everything you’re dreaming of in the first go-round,” he said. That way, he explained, you can always offer people something new to look forward to.
Lastly, Jensen said, it’s imperative that you know your market and the people living in it.
“East Idaho is very family oriented,” he said. “If you don’t plan for that audience and cater to them, you will not succeed in creating a large following for your event.”
In spite of the cancellation of the Snake River Fandom Con, there appears to be plenty of hope for the future. The Snake River Defenders are already planning on participating in events like Superhero Adventure, a fundraiser benefitting the Wilson Theater in Rupert, and Free Comic Book Day.
“We all need to stay connected and supportive of any new events that might come our way, no matter how small that event is,” said KidXister. “Some of the smallest events can grow into something much larger. Even stepping out of our own comfort zones to help support fandoms that are not our own can be a big help.”
Jensen, who is neck-deep in planning this year’s East Idaho Renaissance Faire, foresees continued growth for the local fandom community.
“Anything can happen,” he said. “Snake River Fandom Con will not be the last comic convention in east Idaho. You never know — a new con could be right around the corner.”