PASCO — Thousands of avid science fiction/fantasy fans from all walks of life - from blue collar to white collar jobs - came from all over this weekend to the annual Tri-City Radcon Convention.
The best part of this event is that no matter who you are, how odd or peculiar others might peg you to be, you are welcomed with open arms at a Radcon event, said Elizabeth Vann, one of the organizers.
Doesn't matter whether you indulge your fantasy in the future by dressing up in Star Trek attire or slinking back into the past when the Renaissance brought the world out of darkness.
"Attending a sci-fi convention can tap into your imagination and can inspire creativity," Vann said.
Karen Stiles of Kennewick couldn't agree more.
"This convention is popular because it's a place for like-minded people to share their interests in the future as well as the past," Stiles said. "It's geekdom at it's best and no one feels like an outsider here."
Andy Okicich from Forest Grove, Ore., goes by by the handle Lt. Commander Skipask of the Klingon empire. He even went so far as to sew his own Klingon costume, complete with a exoskeletal forehead made of latex, long locks and heavy brows, much like the character Worf from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"I resurrected my grandmother's old sewing machine several years ago and just taught myself to sew," he said. "It's really kind of fun."
The convention is packed with vendors, gamers and special guests. There's a woman who weaves skeins of wool for costumes, jewelry designers, costume makers and the magnificent work of conceptual artist J.P. Targete.
Most of the gamers were intent either on playing the game of Magic or trading Magic cards. Each game represents a battle between mighty wizards who employ spells, items and creatures to defeat their opponents, sort of like role playing with cards.
There also were several panel discussions throughout the day from sci-fi/fantasy writers, illustrators and screenwriters.
"This is a fun family event and some of our special guests arrive early enough and donate their time to visit schools before the show opens on Fridays," Vann said.
The Radcon organizers also donate each year to the Cavalcade of Authors and Rivers of Ink events.
"No matter how strange people might think we are because we love to dress up in crazy costumes and celebrate science and fantasy, we're really no different than those football fans who paint themselves up to attend a game and cheer for their team," she added.