Science fiction enthusiasts gather this weekend at SoonerCon 

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Fan-based conventions can be found almost anywhere at any time of the year.  From Memphis, Tennessee’s Elvis Presley week each August to the biennial Cher convention in Las Vegas, fans use the time to come together and chat about their favorite artist, pastime or hobby.

Oklahoma has its own convention, SoonerCon, a three-day expo focusing on writers and artists in the science fiction field.

“In a sports-saturated environment like metro Oklahoma City, it’s important to let folks know there are options and a wider variety of entertainment and cultural enrichments than they might have come to expect,” said Leonard Bishop, co-chair of this year’s SoonerCon event.

Members of a local Star Trek revival fan club originally started SoonerCon in 1986. Through the years, it has expanded from a small, two-day convention with 600 attendees to a full, three-day expo with expected attendance in excess of 3,000.

“One of the appeals of SoonerCon is the wide variety of activities,” Bishop said. “There’s both an Exhibitor’s Hall and an Artist’s Alley, so for shoppers, there are a lot of offerings, with many items you can’t typically find here locally.”

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There will also be indie film and anime screenings and around 100 other guests speaking on writing, art, science, popular television and movies.

“There are tons of games running each day in the Gaming Hall, plus kids’ activities on the patio and lawn and computer games and live-action role playing in the evenings,” he said.

A champagne art reception will be held Friday evening with a dance to follow. On Saturday evening, a live art auction will be held, followed by a costume contest and live music.

“People are surprised by just how much there is to do and how inclusive the offerings are,” Bishop said.

An attendee can participate in almost all the activities as part of the price of admission. SoonerCon starts at 10 a.m. all three days and goes until late at night, closing at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

While SoonerCon has strong roots in the science fiction genre, it has grown and become much broader in its scope to include more pop culture. This year’s special guest is actor Robert Picardo, perhaps best known as the doctor from Star Trek: Voyager and as the base commander in Stargate: Atlantis. Picardo will be on hand to sign autographs and will also be part of a celebrity cocktail hour Saturday evening.

“In a city and state where sports has always been king, I believe having options is very healthy, so I urge folks to come out for some locally produced entertainment,” Bishop said.

SoonerCon is Friday-Sunday at Reed Convention Center in Midwest City. Advance admission tickets are $20 for a day or $40 for a  weekend, and prices go up slightly if purchased at the door. Active duty members of the military receive free admission on Friday and weekend passes for the day rate of $25. Kids 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.

Print headline: Scienthusiasts, Fanfare and fun will be available at SoonerCon this weekend.

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Mark Beutler

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