SoonerCon invades the city, targeting sci-fi and fantasy fans of all ages 

Biltmore Hotel
401 S. Meridian
$15 day, $35 weekend

SoonerCon, Oklahoma City's convention devoted to a wide variety of fans of sci-fi, fantasy, comics, gaming, anime and pop culture, returns to the Biltmore Hotel for its fourth year of festivities.

While the current iteration has only been around since 2006, it has a lineage that goes back almost 25 years. The original SoonerCon, formed by members of a local fan community called STAR OKC, was primarily focused on traditional sci-fi/fantasy books and art, and ran from 1986 to 1997.

After years without an OKC-based fan event, Jerry Wall, SoonerCon chairman, was part of a group in 2005 that wanted to fill that void.

"When we started, there were no plans for this new event to resurrect the SoonerCon name, but as we progressed, the option became available to us, and so with permission of the folks behind the original, we set about creating a SoonerCon for a new generation," Wall said.

Since 2006, the scope of the has evolved and expanded to cater to the growing number of attendees that sell out the Biltmore each year.

Friday night's activities include a walk of the undead, courtesy of Zombie Walk OKC, and a midnight showing of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" with a live cast. Friday also includes a party to celebrate Yard Dog Press' 15th anniversary. The celebration features a writing contest where the winner will receive a chapbook contract with the indie press.

Saturday morning will kick off with cartoons and cereal for attendees. The day's events include an art and charity auction followed by a masquerade and costume contest, and the adults-only dance, SinnerCon.

The cult film "Bubba Ho-Tep," starring Bruce Campbell, which is based on a short story by guest of honor Joe R. Lansdale, will screen Saturday night.

In honor of the D-Day anniversary on Sunday, SoonerCon will offer free admission to all former and current members of the military.

The weekend will also include live combat demonstrations courtesy of the local chapter of the Arthurian Order of Avalalon, gaming tournaments and a live role-playing game of "Vampire: The Masquerade."

"There will be a wide variety of activities all weekend, and so we're hoping to see a number of different groups and niches represented," Wall said. "There'll be the folks here to hear the authors talk, the art lovers who come out for our art chow and live auction, and for pop-culture fans, there will be discussions on popular TV shows and movies. There's really something for everyone, regardless of age or fandom background."

Wall also emphasized that SoonerCon is a great first experience for those who have never attended a convention.

"If someone's never been to an event like this before, they shouldn't be afraid to try it out," he said. "A significant number of our attendees had never been to an event before SoonerCon, but continue to return year after year.""Eric Webb

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