My first fan convention

RoVaCon (the Roanoke Valley Convention) Seven was held at Northside High School on the other side of town from where I lived. Since I was only thirteen, and had neither a bike or many friends back then, I had to count on my dad for a ride there. (At thirteen, I was convinced that I couldn’t possibly stay upright on a bike for longer than a few minutes. Eventually, I figured out otherwise.)

I had read about SF conventions in books about Star Trek fandom, and this sounded exciting as heck – I wanted to go so badly. The advertising I’d seen said that the event ran for the whole weekend, but for reasons I can’t remember, my dad wouldn’t take me on Friday. He then wouldn’t take me on Saturday, either – I don’t remember whether there was a scheduling conflict, he didn’t feel well, or he was being obstinant; these things don’t matter when one’s an overeager thirteen-year-old fan. Finally, though, he took me to the con… on Sunday… at around 2pm. Yep, I paid a day rate to get into a con that was already shutting down. What a way to start my fannish life, eh?

The only guest I remember was Laura Banks, an actress with a small background part in that year’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. I didn’t get to see her speak, she was already done for the weekend, but I remember her on the con posters – I was thirteen after all. I do remember seeing a fan who’d already obtained or constructed a “monster maroons” uniform.

The total con experience for me was seeing a few costumes in the halls, and wandering through the dealers’ room, in which I only remember Hitchhiker’s Guide LPs, Starfleet Battles miniatures, and exotic gaming dice, none of which my dad was in the mood to purchase for me. Crushingly aware that there was nothing else to see, I told my dad to go ahead and take me home.

Thankfully for the path I’d take in life, RoVaCon Eight would be much better.