You don't have to have a Darth Vader or Captain Kirk costume in your closet to enjoy Keycon 2013 this weekend, but it wouldn't hurt.
Mark Dobres, spokesman for the science-fiction and fantasy literary convention, which takes place this weekend at the Radisson Hotel, said while many attendees like to channel their inner geek, there are just as many who are indistinguishable from the average person walking down the street.
He said Keycon is very different from events such as Comicon, which is more an expo and typically features movie or television stars sitting behind tables and charging a pretty penny to sign autographs. Keycon is much more panel-driven, Dobres said.
"We'll have Richard Hatch talking about Battlestar Galactica versus Star Wars in one room; we'll have another panel on how to write good sci-fi and another one on how to get your book published," Dobres said.
Many guests will make themselves accessible people at the convention, he said.
"It's not uncommon to see some of them eating lunch with (attendees) or chit-chatting with people. The guests mingle freely with the convention-goers. It's a much more open and free atmosphere," Dobres said.
Guests at Keycon's 30th annual event include Hatch, best known for playing Captain Apollo in the TV series that aired for a single season in 1978, and Lee Moyer, an award-winning illustrator and designer, who produced the covers for two boxed sets of Laurel and Hardy films from 20th Century Fox and the Spider-Man 2 special-edition DVD.
If the USS Enterprise, the fictional ship run by Captain James T. Kirk on Star Trek, was brought to Winnipeg, it might not be able to beam up all the Keycon delegates. In previous years, between 450 and 600 people have taken in the whole weekend, with about 150 buying during the pre-sale period. This year, 400 tickets were pre-sold.
"We're thinking this one is going to be a much bigger deal," Dobres said.
There will be a merchandise room selling all kinds of goods and a masquerade on Saturday.