FanCon 2020: A digital celebration of all the nerdy things

Like many conventions around the world, FanCon had to cancel its physical events in Cape Town this year due to the pandemic. If that left you feeling disappointed and annoyed, I have great news! The organisers have arranged a bunch of online-only events to make up for it. Here’s a list of just some of the highlights of #CelebrateFanCon2020.

The official online event is called Celebrate FanCon 2020, and it’s not quite a convention, exactly. Instead, the organisers say they’re trying to create more of an online experience, “and look forward to bringing the physical event back in 2021. For now, let’s just Celebrate FanCon!”

The organisers say the purpose of Celebrate FanCon “is to…”

create a space for fans to connect, and to bring a positive and upbeat experience in these gloomy times. FanCon also has a long history, being born out of the annual FCBD (Free Comic Book Day) events, which means fans have a strong connection to the event, and we wanted everyone to participate and celebrate what we have achieved as a community of fans.

We’re particularly pleased about this, because FanCon is genuinely one of our favourite events in the nerd calendar; it’s usually one of the first things we get tickets for. I have thoroughly enjoyed it every year, and my only regret is usually that I don’t have more time, energy, or money to spend there. Needless to say, everyone at NerdVerse is very happy that this is going ahead.

Join FanCon 2020 for a digital celebration

So what can you look forward to at Celebrate FanCon 2020? To summarise, in the words of the organisers:

So this weekend, everyone can look forward to an online experience geared towards all fans of geekdom, hang out safely from their homes, and follow our socials, to at least still be part of the FanCon experience. We will have live feeds, with guests and fans, streams to play from various guests and panelists, vendor & artist showcases, cosplay activities, loads of online roleplaying games, messages from past guests, geek quizes, spot prizes, Fandom foody activities, and one or 2 more surprises.

FanCons in years past

What’s new?

First off, if you enjoy cooking or baking, you can participate in the official Fandom Feast – either officially, or simply for your own entertainment. Your challenge is to cook a fandom-friendly recipe over the two days of the celebration. Even if you don’t plan to compete, you can participate by making anything “from a cutely decorated cupcake to a faithful recreation of a character’s favourite meal”. See the Fandom Feast page for more information about the competition, including how to enter.

Needless to say, the new event I’m most excited about is the addition of online roleplaying games. You can join one of the free games aimed at new players, or try one of various systems like Mothership, Crash Pandas, and Starfinder. All proceeds from these games (R50 per player) goes to the Connect a Heart Foundation. You can sign up for sessions on Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 and 14:30. Spots are limited, though, so book soon. I know I have – I booked for all four sessions, since this means that I actually get to play for once!

Where can I find my old favourites?

Two of my favourite parts of the convention are the artist alley and the vendors section, because it’s an amazing opportunity to see the work of people from all over South Africa and to support local creators. This year, because it’s not a physical convention, exhibitors will be featured on the #ValleyofVendors showcase online. I’ll post another update tomorrow to let you know what some of our faves are doing, but in the meantime you can check out our Facebook page, where we’ll be sharing updates and links to announcements from our favourite vendors and exhibitors. In particular, Sad Shirts are running a few special events which we’ll be posting about tomorrow. Watch this space!

Although all the entries for the cosplay competition are closed, you can still watch the official competition video, where you’ll be able to see a compilation of all the shortlisted cosplay entries. Keep an eye out for any announcements about the #FanConFlipChallenge on social media. They will also host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session with Baka Sakura & Ludus Cosplay, where the guests will answer all kinds of cosplay-related questions. You’ll also be able to buy prints from local cosplayers, in case you want some help jump-starting your own adventures into cosplay.

Finally, you should keep an eye out for the geek quiz, taking place on Saturday and Sunday. This is a firm FanCon favourite and you can find information about how to enter on the Geek Quiz page.  And if you’re broken up about the fact that you won’t be able to meet international guests or get them to sign anything, the prizes up for grabs are past FanCon Merch and signed items by past FanCon guests! Speaking of which, Celebrate FanCon is planning to have a few panels, which they are announcing over the course of the next few days. One of the panels is “Comics from the South”, where Bill Masuku, Ray Whitcher and Mark Jackson will discuss their work.

You can find all the details about the events on the official site,

FanCon logo image from the official site.

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