February 23-25, 2018
This regional convention attracted some great names this year! Joe Lansdale, Tommy Dreamer, Clare Kramer, Zach Callison, Shawn Durington, Bella Morte, The Vailix, the Geek Radio Daily crew, Tha True Original GATA, Allen Wold, and many others attended. The organizers seemed to keep the lines for signings, panels, etc. well in hand.
The gaming section kept busy. With rooms set apart for Live Action Roll Play (LARPing), video games, and tabletop games, a con-goer could find whatever game desired and a space to engage in it. Video game consoles ranged around the room. Con-goers could kick it old school on the Atari or Nintendo, or play more up to date games on Xbox and Playstation, and everything in between. For tabletop lovers, multiple games ran at any given point in time—Magic to GURPS and Pokemon to Dungeons & Dragons. Organizers also scheduled some larger, long-running games for interested con-goers.
MystiCon provided multiple panels and workshops for those interested in costuming, robotics, and crafts as well. I didn’t personally get to attend any of these, but I heard good feedback for these tracks from other con-goers.
Some great cosplayers were in attendance. Costumes varied from kids characters and superheroes to gaming characters and wrestling celebrity look-a-likes. MystiCon provided costuming workshops of different levels of expertise for anyone who was interested in beginning or improving their cosplay participation.
The literary track panels received a lot of great feedback from audiences. MystiCon ran a great programming schedule and kept to the schedules well. Panels ranged from character creation and anti-heroes to podcasting and self-publishing and marketing. A number of panels focused on women’s contributions to film and fiction, which received some overwhelmingly positive responses from the audience and panelists. Programming also provided some very inventive panels, including author-reader speed-dating and creative marketing ideas for self-publishing authors. While some were more serious and others more playful, the audience loved them.
Outside of programming, the organizers and convention hotel worked hard to make the experience great for all of the con-goers. The hotel arranged for multiple shuttles to run from three or four nearby hotels to transport attendees safely around the busy area. The Holiday Inn stands near a major shopping center with numerous grocery stores, restaurants, and other stores within easy walking distance. Many of the local businesses work with the convention and give con-goers discounts! Just remember to mention that you are going to MystiCon when you order. Numerous other fantastic restaurants are within driving distance as well. (Check out Review Alley on Askaforensicpsychologist.com for some local restaurant reviews.)
All in all, MystiCon 2018 was well-organized and engaging. I highly recommend attending and checking out the Roanoke area while you are there. If it’s possible, consider coming in a day early or staying a day later and getting to know the local area. I recommend the Roanoke Pinball Museum, hiking in the Carvin’s Cove Nature Reserve, and driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s worth it.
See you next year at MystiCon!