Lil-Con is one of the many gaming and anime conventions in Western New York. It is an annual event that features countless video games and board games to play, exciting activities like gaming tournaments and a cosplay contest, and interesting panels. One of the major differences from other conventions, however, is its size. Lil-Con is, well, little. It’s easily one of the smallest conventions one could attend. Despite its small size, Lil-Con has big heart.
The sixth Lil-Con just passed on September 28th and 29th, and it was a blast. Inside the American Legion in North Tonawanda were convention-goers gaming, cosplaying, and watching Saturday morning cartoons while vendors sold manga, artwork, plushies, and video games.
For such a small convention, there was a lot to do. Other than the board game and video game free play, there were plenty of events including gaming tournaments, a musical performance, a celebration of Spongebob Squarepants’ 20th anniversary, and more. Voice actress Tiffany Grant was also in attendance for anime fans to meet.
There was a particularly interesting panel on writing and publishing featuring local children’s author Roselyn Kasmire and video game designer and writer Kendall Pribe. This was an especially helpful panel for those (like myself) who enjoy writing but may have questions about getting past writer’s block or how to get your writing published. Perhaps one of the most exciting events to take place was the Pokéball Hunt. This Easter egg hunt with a Pokémon twist took place both inside and outside of the American Legion. Those of you lucky enough to find Pokéballs with Pokémon inside of them received prizes that ranged from t-shirts to mystery boxes, and even a Pikachu birthday cake.
The true heart of Lil-Con does not come from the many exciting events; it comes from the people. Walking into a cheap, tiny convention to see a couple hundred people happy and having a great time emits a warm feeling. This is what Lil-Con is about. It’s people enjoying and sharing their interests, whether it be gaming, cosplay, manga, or anything else. It’s a safe and fun place for all.
This is only the sixth time this convention has been held, so it still has time to grow and find its footing. I can certainly see it improving in the coming years. I can see the video game area growing and having better televisions, more vendors and special guests attending, and even a larger location being used in the future. There were a couple of scheduled events that either didn’t happen or began late. This most likely occurred due to those in charge still learning. Small mishaps like this can be resolved by learning from previous years. If Lil-Con improves year after year, then it will be truly unmissable very soon.
Lil-Con is certainly a one-of-a-kind experience and is like no other convention I’ve attended. It maintains a very indie feel while offering a lot to convention-goers. It’s tons of fun and is extremely affordable compared to other cons. I recommend checking it out in the coming years to see this little convention grow into something greater.