An insider’s view of volunteering at Phoenix Comicon

Comicon? What?

It’s a fan convention, originally centered around comic books, but now encompassing all kinds of pop culture. The most popular Comic Con is held in San Diego every summer, but its success prompted similar events around the world including the Phoenix Comicon (PCC), which we’ve held since 2002.

I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a luck penny, pixie dust, Charms candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my "Song of the Ocarina" ebook on it.

I gave away these homemade Fae Wishing Tins at my panel: with a lucky penny, pixie dust, candy, and one even included a thumb drive with my “Song of the Ocarina” ebook on it.

I started attending with my family four years ago because of our love of sci-fi and fantasy media: Star Wars, Dr. Who, Farscape, Star Trek, etc. This year, though, I spoke on a panel about “Finding Your Inner Fae,” and volunteered in Outdoor Programming.

I had not volunteered at PCC until this year. I had a blast working in Outdoor Programming along Third Street, just outside the main entrance to the con’. The idea of this blocked-off street is to entice people to the con’ and to keep the main foot-traffic area free of motorized vehicles.  Unless they were parked and on display, like these beauties.

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Our team, headed by my friend Joanne de Biasi, helped the outdoor exhibitors load into booths, get what they needed, and find answers to all their questions. Not only was it fun to interact with the booth folk — like Build-A-Bear, and the dog rescue organization — but as a side perk, Event Staff receive a full event membership, t-shirt, $20 in vouchers for Hyatt food kiosks, and discounts with vendors. I’d already purchased my membership, though, so I donated mine to a friend.

Phx Comicon 2015 - 020My son’s band, The Darling Sounds, also played a set as part of the programming.

Besides the hundreds of break-out sessions on every geek topic you can imagine, including a writing/author track, I’ve developed a favorite trio of activities when I go to con’:

Celebrity panels. We’ve seen Nathan Fillion, William Shatner, Steve Amell, Summer Glau, John Barrowman, and many others. It’s so fascinating to see their personalities first-hand, and hear behind-the-scenes info on their shows/activities.

The cosplay costumes. These people are dedicated to creating authentic and fun costumes. You’ll never see anything like them.

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The Expo. Every possible geek product and service covers the main floor of the Phoenix Convention Center: posters, books/comic books, clothing, art, and tons of items you didn’t know you needed until you see them. My favorite may be a Castle badge sporting Nathan Fillion’s character photo and the title “Writer.”

I met some of the most creative, fun, and smart people, and cannot wait to do it again. Watch for next year’s post when I talk about my volunteer work with the writers/authors programming track. Woot!

If you’re interested, find out more details about volunteering at Phoenix Comicon.

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