There are a number of long running pop cultural festivals in Manitoba but there are likely none that are closing in on near four decades of continuous operation. Science fiction and fantasy are among the biggest sellers in the multimedia world from books to television to movies to games. Keycon has always been the more literate of the festivals but just as fun loving. This year they have guests of honour representing both writers and authors. Carrie Vaughn, Tanya Huff and Lee Moyer will be present to discuss their work.
Traditionally the May long weekend has been marked by Manitobans heading to the cottage or camping for the first time of the new year. Some nip down to the States for a last shopping weekend before summer. However, the Victoria Day weekend in the city was often marked by a sleepy whole lot of nothing.
No sci-fi festival wold be complete without costume masquerades and competitions, panels and discussions, gaming and fights as well as dinner and dancing with friends. The venue is the Radisson Hotel on Portage Avenue in the downtown area and is spread out through most of their ballrooms and guest suites.
Attendance has ranged as high as 600 for a weekend pass but day passes are also available for those who have only a day to spare. There are lots of celebrations for sci-fi culture that Keycon will be tipping the hat to including vampire stories, Mad Max, Monty Python as well as Wizard of Oz.
Tickets in advance are the best course of action and reviewing the schedule and times for programming. Costumes are always welcome but check to see when cosplay and masquerades are happening. There are vendors selling a variety of goods and art so be sure to check that out as well.
Keycon is a more intimate look at sci-fi and fantasy than some of the biggest shows out there but then it is all about forming close relationships with the people and groups that share interests. And once again, not everyone goes out of town on the May long weekend.