HawaiiCon 2016: A Convention Report

Written by Chris Kwock (@kwock)

HawaiiCon is quickly becoming one of the cons that I look forward to every year. In their 3rd year of running this sci-fi convention, they switched to a new hotel which was closer and more beautiful, IMHO. Let’s be honest, the whole reason why I go to out of state cons is to eat, so we’re going to mention the food first. What was nice was there were lots of food options. There was a mini shopping mall maybe 5-10 min drive away and a slightly bigger one 15 minutes away; during the day they had food trucks and the hotel sported a couple places to eat as well.

The hotel is at a beautiful location and is huge. The con was slightly more spread out this year than last year making use of the rooms. While I felt that it was more spread out and less crowded, I never felt like I was the only one attending. Where ever I was (even all the way out checking out to the fish ponds) I saw a few people with HawaiiCon’s orange Crunchyroll lanyard walking around. Seeing couples and small groups of people everywhere I went still made me feel like the location was still part of the convention, even if I’m not swimming through a sea of people. This isn’t to say that some of the panel rooms weren’t packed. This year’s theme was Star Trek and they pulled out all the stops bringing in guests such as Walter Koenig (Chekov), Chase Masterson (Leeta), and Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker) to name a few.

I mentioned it last year, but I’ll say it again, this is such a chill con! All the guests are just casually walking around the hotel grounds and interacting with people. I saw a Nichelle Nicolas (known for portraying the original Uhura in Star Trek television series) eating in the restaurant and being really open and nice to a fan who came up to tell her how much they loved her.  If you really want some personal time with the guests, they offer activities to do with them! Activities such as ziplining, snorkel tours, luaus, and tours were available to share an experience with your favorite guest. 

Everyone from the guests, to the attendees, to the hotel staff, and the volunteers were super lovely and nice. So many attendees said hi just in passing, which seems rare in some of the bigger cons for just random attendees to even acknowledge another attendee not in cosplay. There wasn’t a whole lot of cosplay walking around the day to day, but there were a lot of cosplayers who entered the cosplay contest. While there wasn’t a ton of cosplay going on, lots of people still got in the spirit and wore a Star Trek inspired type of shirt or dress. This location is beautiful for photo shoots, I wish there were more people dressing up or wearing their outfit outside the cosplay contest, or maybe I just had bad timing for seeing them. Also middle of September is really hot! More summer cosplays needed lol.

What I really love about this con is that not only do they have the usual guest, fan panels, and a handful of anime panels, they also have science panels! I went to an astronomy panel and they had panels on how telescopes work, archeology of Hawai`i, and a guest scientist which included a NASA astronomer.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this con continue to grow and even more excited for next year which they announced to be Star Wars themed!!! All the potential guests that they could bring in (if they’re not busy). Look forward to all the things next year! 

Check out a few of the cosplays I caught while at HawaiiCon below.