BLOG HAL-CON 2010 convention report

Star Trek's Denise Crosby and Walter Koenig were in Nova Scotia for a convention last week. SFX and blogger Kell Harker were there too

Can it really be a week since it was all over?

It's been a few days now since Halifax's volunteer-run SF, fantasy and comic convention concluded, and I'm already counting the days until HAL-CON 2011 kicks off. Those who were at the Lord Nelson Hotel (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) on Halloween weekend will probably agree that getting back to reality just hasn't been as much fun! Stupid reality, eh? But never have I had so much fun as I did at this convention, partying my little geek heart out with 1200 strangers. The surprise was that by the end of the weekend, a lot of those strangers had become like family.

The event saw the guys from InnerSPACE , Teddy and Ajay (above), host a Tron: Legacy sneak peak and behind-the-scenes footage, plus the charity auction raised over $2500! Nathan Fillion's autographed poster scored over $300 at the auction alone. But what made this convention particularly so full of awesome?

Passion.

This convention exceeded all expectations because every member of the organizing committee (Jen Johnston, Travers Milo, Baha Baydar, Travis Whalen, Matthew De-Serres, Amanda Schreiber and Jennifer Lambe - below) as well as all of the volunteers involved together put their passions for geek culture into creating this incredible experience for visitors. I'm not even sure if "incredible" does it justice. Indredifabulous, maybe? Filliontastic? Wonderfloniumerrific?

TV guests of honour were Walter Koenig and Denise Crosby who mingled with fans at the cocktail party and then answered questions in the morning at the local cinema. Their Star Trek anecdotes kept everybody chortling. Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett from Mystery Science Theater 3000 performed a live riff on stage, providing their own hilarious commentary to a public information film about grass before firing up the classic Devil Fish episode of MST3K . The sad fact that Aaron Douglas and Jeremy Bulloch had to cancel did not dampen the event, which sold out.

What really stood out for me was seeing everyone so happy. Just walking the lobby of the hotel I could feel the high spirited atmosphere of people playing and laughing together, sharing in their common interests. Yep, pretty incredifabulous. Personally, it's not every day that I am embraced for my geekiness, but instantly I felt genuinely liked for exactly who I am. Thank you HAL-CON, for making me feel so very welcome!

Plus I totally owe this convention for giving me the opportunity to fulfil a long-running fantasy of mine of pretending to be Lois Lane with Superman:

Yes, that is indeed me posing with Editor-In-Chief of SFX , David Bradley. Ain't he a good sport? Yep, SFX were there too, supporting the event. Writing afterwards, Dave commented that it had "one of the best atmospheres of any con" and he wasn't alone; author Kenneth Tam described it as "a tremendous success for everyone involved, and was an event befitting such a great city" while present Teddy Wilson (InnerSPACE) said, "Major congrats to everyone involved. The passion and positivity of everyone I met this weekend was absolutely awesome and you made those of us from outside of Nova Scotia feel totally welcome and at home. A stellar convention!"

Other favourite moments from HAL-CON for me included mingling with celebs and friends at the VIP cocktail party (that's author PJ Haarsma on the left):

Asking the very cool Patrick McMerty (vendor and gold sponsor) if I could play with his lightsaber:

Getting to help with the first Canadian SFX Blastermind quiz:

It was a fiendishly hard quiz devised by the SFX team and presented by Dave Bradley on the main stage. The winning quiz team was The Fried Wontons, who are Samuel and Laura Hirtle, and Anne and Jeff Johnson:

Sporting my Princess Leia hairdo and cheering on Dave and the rest of the debaters during the very cool live debate (when Nathan Fillion called to add his support ), and being in complete awe and geek heaven seeing all of the amazing cosplay costumes:

HAL-CON, I love you and I'll see you next year! Congratulations on your huge success. May the Force be with you, for years to come.

This was a personal report from blogger Kell Harker. Were you at HAL-CON? Post a link to your photos in the thread below. Or perhaps you saw SFX at one of the other events we attended recently, BristolCon or London Expo? Keep in touch via our Facebook page, and let us know of any upcoming events you think we should be at. The official HAL-CON page is here .