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GEEK CULTURE RISING: A SoonerCon 26 Preview

Jason Doyle Oden / Red Dirt Report
"Boba Fett" makes an appearance at SoonerCon 2016.
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MIDWEST CITY, Okla. -- Long before the big budget movies that seem to come out by the dozens every year, nerds and geeks were gathering in the Oklahoma City area to celebrate science fiction, fantasy, and other elements of “geek culture.” SoonerCon turns 26 years old when it opens on Friday, June 23 rd at the Reed Center in Midwest City.

This year’s theme is “Welcome to the Show!”

“We’re going to explore the impact of carnivals, magicians, showmanship, and the spectacular on pop culture. We have an incredibly full program of children’s activities, gaming, panels, demos, performances, special events and more planned for the three-day convention weekend,” said SoonerCon Vice Chairwoman Aislinn Burrows.

According to Burrows, last year’s SoonerCon attracted more than 2,200 people. The crowds are expected to be about this same this year. With movies like Wonder Woman, a Thor sequel, another Transformers film from Michael Bay and the next Star Wars movie entry hitting the big screen this year the demand for events like SoonerCon are growing.

“Because of an increased demand for events like ours, owed in large part to the rise of geek culture, we have considerably enjoyed year over year growth of our attendee base along with the scope of our program offering. The first SoonerCons were in the 80s, when it wasn’t necessarily ‘cool’ to be a geek.

One of the best things about today’s SoonerCons is that not only is being a geek cool for the most part, but there remains the opportunity for attendees to meet and interact with like-minded individuals from all walks of life about their shared love of fandom, and maybe even learn something new,” said Burrows.

For newly minted geeks, SoonerCon is a chance to become more familiar with the history of the genre.

The geek culture tends to favor a more inclusive nature.

“New attendees should know foremost that there is a place for them at the con. You have found your people! If you’re interested in it, chances are we’ve got a panel about it. We have tons of programming in topics ranging from art, writing, science, marketing, pop culture, internet culture, costuming, and so on. We run programming during the day and in the evening.”

Many of the attendees get into their hobby through costumes. Cosplay has become a mainstay of geek culture gatherings. At SoonerCon, cosplay is encouraged.

“Attendees are welcome to wear costumes all weekend and we have our annual costume contest event on Saturday evening, with grand prize support provided by our Patron Partner, Bernina of Oklahoma City. We also host an all-ages dance party on Friday night and lots of people cosplay for that event as well,” added Burrows.

This year’s SoonerCon features more than 150 panelists and featured guests.

“Some of our better known featured guests this year include our literary guest of honor Timothy Zahn, actor Todd Haberkorn (Attack on Titan, Ben 10, Pokemon), and Victoria Price, HGTV designer and daughter of horror legend and pop culture icon Vincent Price. Our artist guest of honor, Denver-based potter and sculptor Peri Charlifu will have custom work for sale in our art show, along with 2D work by featured guest artist Mitchell Bentley.”

SoonerCon is entirely staffed by volunteers. The event is a charitable fundraising event for the Future Society of Central Oklahoma. This year’s designated charity is NAMI OKC Metro Affiliate.

SoonerCon runs this Friday through Sunday and opens each morning at 10 a.m.

For more information and how to purchase tickets visit

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Jason Doyle Oden

Jason Doyle Oden is a proud Oklahoman. He's an experienced broadcaster and award-winning...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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