People who are tired of being snickered at for dressing up like Elvis, a steampunk or a cartoon pony don’t need to feel alone anymore. Those groups are each celebrated at annual conventions across America.
The 2014 National Hobo Convention will take over the small town of Britt, Iowa for the next five days, celebrating the mythology and history of American transients. The town, with a population of just more than 2,000, is home to the Hobo Museum. Britt’s website indicates the annual gathering, which includes music and a parade, has been hosted in the town since 1900.
Proving there’s a club for everyone, here are some of America’s other offbeat annual conventions:
Site: Baltimore, Maryland
Size: Over 8,000 attendees
(Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
This annual convention for fans of the cartoon series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” started as a fringe event with about 100 attendees and has grown into a phenomenon that lasts an entire weekend. In 2012, a documentary about the TV show’s surprising number of diehard adult fans was made, showing that the so-called “Brony” movement isn’t going anywhere.
Site: Las Vegas, Nevada
It should come as no surprise that an annual festival dedicated to the King emanates from Sin City. This four-day convention is sponsored by the company that operates Graceland. It sees plenty of Elvis impersonators performing his greatest hits to an audience of dedicated fans. There are similar festivals held in Georgia, New York, Tennessee and other states.
Twins Day Festival
Site: Twinsburg, Ohio
Size: About 4,000 attendees
(Photo: Rick Gershon/Getty Images)
Dubbed the world’s largest gathering of twins and multiples, the Twins Day Festival happens every summer. The northeast Ohio city of Twinsburg appropriately serves as the festival’s site. All multiples are welcome including identical and fraternal twins, triplets and more, according to the event’s website. The 2014 Twins Day Festival last weekend saw 1,887 sets of multiples, according to the official Facebook page.
Xena: Warrior Princess Convention
Site: Burbank, California
Although the final episode of “Xena: Warrior Princess” aired more than a decade ago, the show’s loyal fans gather every year in California to celebrate its legacy. Awards are handed out for the best Xena costumes and the show’s star Lucy Lawless has been known to make appearances. The Xena: Warrior Princess Convention is organized by Creation Entertainment, the same company that hosts similar conventions for fans of “Twilight” and “Star Trek.”
Site: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Size: 5,861 attendees in 2014
(Photo: dmuth/Creative Commons)
Similar to BronyCon, Anthrocon’s attendees are often dressed as cartoon animals. The convention’s website claims their 2014 show broke all previous attendance records and included participants from 26 countries. The show, a must-go for any self-respecting furry since 1997, raised more than $32,000 for a selected charity this year.
International UFO Congress
Site: Scottsdale, Arizona
Likely Fox Mulder’s favorite convention, the International UFO Congress invites renowned speakers and filmmakers to Arizona to speak before a captivated audience of believers. The event’s site bills itself as the largest annual UFO conference in America. 2014’s guests included George Noory, host of the nationally-syndicated supernatural radio show “Coast to Coast AM.” Next year’s event will be in February.
Another annual gathering dedicated to fans of a cult classic, Lebowski Fest is conducted at least once a year in various cities across the U.S. and even in London. The show invites devotees to the 1998 film “The Big Lebowski” to dress as their favorite characters. Directed and written by Joel and Ethan Coen, the comedy was a moderate box office success but has become a sensation with hardcore fans. A documentary about the convention called “The Achievers” was made in 2013.
The Steampunk World’s Fair
Site: Piscataway, New Jersey
The steampunk movement, a sub-genre of science fiction that celebrates steam-powered technology and stylized Victorian-era clothing, is celebrated every summer at this event in New Jersey. Tickets for the 2015 edition are on sale now at the Steampunk World’s Fair website.
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