One of the principal features of sf FANDOM, conventions are usually weekend gatherings of fans and authors, frequently with a programme of sf discussion and events. In FAN LANGUAGE conventions are usually referred to as cons. They are informal, not professionally organized, and with no delegated attendants or, usually, paid speakers. Typical activities include talks, auctions, films, panel discussions, masquerades and banquets.Although some US sf fans date the first convention to 1936, when a group of fans from New York spent a day with a group from Philadelphia (including Oswald TRAIN), the first formally planned sf convention took place in Leeds, UK, in 1937. Since then regular conventions have been established around the world. In the UK the major annual convention is known as Eastercon (inaugurated 1948), though it was held at Whitsun until 1955 (except 1950, when there was no convention), and has had up to 900 attending; recent venues have included Liverpool, Leeds, Glasgow, Jersey and Blackpool. A second convention, Novacon, was added to the calendar in 1971; it takes place every November in Birmingham and attracts some 300 people. Since the late 1970s there has been an explosion in the number of small conventions held in the UK.The first US convention was held in New York in 1938 and the first Worldcon, now the premier sf convention, took place there in 1939 (though it was originally so-named because of the World's Fair in New York that year). Worldcon, at which the HUGO Awards are presented, is held annually, usually in the USA, where it has attracted as many as 8000 attending. It has also gone once each to Germany (1970) and Holland (1990), twice each to Canada (1948 and 1973) and Australia (1975 and 1985), and four times to the UK (1957, 1965, 1979 and 1987). Annual regional conventions have also been long established in North America: major events include Westercon (inaugurated 1948), Midwestcon (inaugurated 1950), Deepsouthcon (inaugurated 1963), Disclave (Washington; inaugurated 1950), Lunacon (New York; inaugurated 1957), Boskone (Boston; inaugurated 1964) and Windycon (Chicago; inaugurated 1974). There are also national conventions in AUSTRALIA, JAPAN and several European countries, including FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, the NETHERLANDS and NORWAY. In 1976 one of the international Eurocons (inaugurated 1971) was held in POLAND, the first sf convention in what was then the communist bloc.Sf conventions are now very numerous, especially in the USA: taking the whole world into account, there are about 150 a year. There are similarities and a degree of overlap between sf cons and those held by fans of COMICS, FANTASY and horror, and also the specialist conventions held by fans of, for example, STAR TREK and DR WHO.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. . 2011.

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