GREENFIELD — PopCon, the convention billed as “a con for fans, made by fans,” returns to the Indiana Convention Center this weekend. Whether you’re a veteran or a first-timer, here are five things know before you go:
1. Plan your parking strategy.
Events start at noon Friday, but the parking lots and garages likely will be full by then. A general rule of thumb is that the farther away from the convention center you park, the less you have to pay — and, of course, the farther you have to walk.
This could be a concern, especially if you’re in a costume made of leather, chain mail or fur or if you’re carrying a large and cumbersome weapon or other piece of equipment. The best bet is to get there early and park in one of the garages accessible to the Convention Center by skywalk.
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2. Prepare to people-watch
There will be people in costume — lots of people in costume. If this is your first time at a convention of this nature, try not to stare. And don’t worry, after a couple of hours of countless Deadpools, Jokers, Jedi knights and variations of Dr. Who, seeing cosplayers in all manner of costume mashups will be normal. Feel free to take photos. For most convention attendees, it’s a badge of honor to be photographed. It lets them know they’ve done well with their costumes.
3. Keep an eye out for celebrities
Scrolling through the list of celebrity appearances scheduled for the three-day con, you may or may not recognize any of the names, but I’ll bet you’d recognize their work. On hand for meet and greet panels will be: Karen Gillan, who appeared on “Dr. Who” and in “Guardians of the Galaxy”; Kevin Smith, star of “Clerks” and “Mallrats”; Tara Strong, whose voice can be heard in “Powerpuff Girls,” “My Little Pony” and “Rugrats”; and the Nostalgia Critic, who has made a name for himself on YouTube with his hilarious reviews of old TV shows and movies.
4. Learn something new
PopCon offers numerous opportunities to learn something new and, unlike other fan conventions, all are included in the price of your admission ticket. Conventioners can learn to make a pair of wings or lightweight armor, attend a voice-acting workshop, learn how to develop a video game idea, make a movie or how to draw My Little Pony.
5. Bring the kids
The PopCon website (indypopcon.com) addresses parental concerns by stressing that the focus of the entire convention is a celebration of independent creative thinkers and makers: “You can encourage your child to pursue their dreams, the paths they can take in college and the real-world skills that come with creating and pursuing their hobbies.” And besides that, kids younger than 10 with a parent can even get in for free.
PopCon returns to the Indiana Convention Center Friday through Sunday. For information and a schedule of events and celebrity appearances, visit indypopcon.com.