Chattacon moves to Chattanoogan in 43rd year for more intimate experience

Chattacon moves to Chattanoogan in 43rd year for more intimate experience

January 21st, 2018 by Mark Pace in Local Regional News

Artist guest of honor Sam Flegal tries on a leather armor peice from a vendor's booth at Chattacon 43 at the Chattanoogan Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The fantasy and science fiction convention continues Sunday.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Classic Halloween costumes are on display at Chattacon 43 at the Chattanoogan Hotel on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The fantasy and science fiction convention continues Sunday.

Classic Halloween costumes are on display at Chattacon...

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

A local annual science fiction and fantasy convention moved to The Chattanoogan hotel this weekend for a more intimate gathering, where fans could converse, play games and immerse themselves in fantasy.

The 43rd Chattacon moved to the hotel after several years at the Chattanooga Choo Choo's Terminal Station. Event organizers expected approximately 600-800 people throughout the weekend.

"We wanted to get back to the way things used to be," event marketing director Thomas Kerns said. "It was more intimate, which is what this convention has always been about, that closeness."

Kerns donned post- apocalyptic themed attire to follow the theme of the convention, which focused on the work that has been trendy in pop-culture for several years.

However, the focus of the convention is literary based. Chattacon is a non-profit organization and uses some of its proceeds to purchase books for libraries and other groups.

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The convention, called a "con" for short, is smaller than other popular cons hosted across the country, but that's the way the organizers want it, Kerns said.

"This con is laid back, which is how we like it," Kerns said. "We don't like the craziness of the other conventions, so we tend to be laid back and relaxed."

At the convention, attendees browsed merchandise, played board games and listened to lectures on a variety of fantasy and sci-fi subjects. The event catered to a wide audience, featuring adult sessions and others for children.

Soddy-Daisy resident Chad Renfro brought his daughter, Brianna, 6, to the event. It was her first fantasy convention, and she dressed as the popular comic book character Harley Quinn, who was featured in the movie "Suicide Squad."

"This is something fun to do with the little one," Renfro said.

The convention brought in more than just typical fantasy game players.

Local resident Kenli Shaw, 19, has traveled to anime conventions across the region and decided to come support the local convention — even though it wasn't focused on anime. Shaw dressed as anime character Juvia from Fairy Tail.

"I love conventions, and I try to go to as many as I can. I love cosplaying and being someone different," she said. "I don't always have the time to go to Atlanta or far away to a convention, so it's nice to have one right here."

Contact staff writer Mark Pace at mpace@times freepress.com or 423-757-6361. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook @ChattanoogaOutdoors.


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