The weekend of April 2nd to 5th marks a significant anniversary for organized fandom here in Minnesota. This is the 50th year of Minicon, Minnesota’s oldest science fiction convention, and surprisingly enough, currently one of the freshest on the scene. Once the premier fan-run con of the American Midwest, today’s Minicon is run by a small but seasoned group of veteran Minnesota fans who have spent recent years focused on integrating the next generations into their leadership and letting them loose to create a strong track of youth-oriented programming.
Minicon is and always has been a member-driven, collaborative convention, and has seen its share of related ups and downs throughout the years. These days, its programming covers many topics that should interest the Minnesota geek community, including science fiction and fantasy, genre literature, nonfiction science, writing and publishing, arts, crafts, costuming, gaming, and discussions revolving around the evolution of fandom itself. There are always a few fun parties to attend in the evenings, and, of course, the Minicon ConSuite (a courtesy room providing snacks and refreshments to Minicon attendees) still famously serves up beer on tap.
To commemorate its Anniversary, Minicon 50 is welcoming an impressive slate of guests of honor, including authors Jane Yolen, Larry Niven, and Brandon Sanderson, musician Adam Stemple, publisher Tom Doherty, and artist Michael Whelan.
Minicon 50 promises to be a fun event that is worth checking out for young and old. And on top of that, it is a living piece of our history as geeks in Minnesota that everyone should experience at least once. For many local fans of a certain age, Minicon represents significant events in our lives, if not being significantly life changing in itself.
Speaking personally, some of my fondest convention memories were forged at Minicon. I started going back in the 1990’s. Minicon 27 was literally my first convention of any type and it raised the bar for my every convention experience thereafter. It opened up a whole new world to me, and I made so many friends who shared my interests. To quote the slogan for that year’s con, “It seemed like a good idea at the time”.
At one time, Minicon had 4-5000 people attending (not officially) annually. For the last few years, the convention has stood strong in the 500-to-700 bracket. Minicon 50 is expecting over 1,000 attendees.
Minicon is not just a huge party—although that’s part of it. One of the things I remember and treasure the most about the many Minicons I’ve attended are the conversations I’ve had with old friends and total strangers alike. Everyone is welcome, tolerated, and celebrated truly an I.D.I.C. (old Star Trek reference) place.
Hope you can check it out. It’s worth it.
Minicon is put on by the Minnesota Science Fiction Society, or MNStF. In addition to a full slate of programming, there’s also costuming, films, gaming (open and organized), music, a ConSuite and a bar. Check it out at www.mnstf.org/minicon50.