COVID-19 means that convention going has pretty much come to a complete halt. And for those of us who love going to cons, as well as those of us who often attend such events as vendors, it’s been tough. Not only are we missing out on those geeky social interactions we love so much, but we’re also missing out on potential sales (which many of us need to pay our bills).
Enter the virtual convention. I think the first virtual con might have been Arda Con, which was organized by Arda Wigs. It was actually a really cool idea, and Arda let vendors submit themselves to get posted onto their website for the con. It wasn’t an interactive event, but there were livestreams of cosplay-related topics and a costume contest.
The next evolution in the virtual convention was Home Con. Home Con happened almost entirely on Twitch, but offered an array of guests from TV and movies. It also offered paid one-on-one chat opportunities with those guests, with portions of proceeds going to charity. Unfortunately, though, Home Con didn’t offer anything for con vendors.
Now, though, there’s Virtual Pop Expo, an entirely different kind of virtual con. Virtual Pop Expo is trying to make things as interactive as possible. There will be guests and all kinds of livestreamed panels. But there will also be a vendor show floor, where con attendees can visit booths of various vendors, hang out and chat and watch vendor livestreams. It’s an entirely new thing that hasn’t been done before, and guess what? I have a booth there!
Even better is that Virtual Pop Expo is this weekend. The con preview begins tonight, May 8, at 6 p.m. PST and goes throughout the weekend. During con hours, you will be able to visit my booth (just look for “Robin Burks”), hang out with me, chat, watch some livestreams of me and my cats, see my cosplays (yes, I will be cosplaying all weekend) and buy my books (along with a few handmade goodies). It’s going to be interactive and fun and about the closest thing we can get to a con without actually being at a con. I would also like to encourage you all to visit all the vendor booths and say support them, too.