An event featuring everything from comic book authors to astronauts is under way in Central Oklahoma.
The SoonerCon 27 convention, known for its author panels, scientific demonstrations and a costume contest, began Friday and will run through Sunday at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City. Hotel reservations at the Midwest City Sheraton are sold out, but admission will remain available throughout the event, Future Society of Central Oklahoma President Shai Fenwick said.
“We believe there’s something at SoonerCon for everyone,” Fenwick said. “Everyone is welcome. It is a fundamental part of who we are as a community.”
Author Carrie Vaughn and science fiction artist John Picacio will highlight SoonerCon as the two guests of honor. Vaughn, known for her Kitty Norville series, has published over 60 short science fiction stories over the course of her career. Picacio is well known in the science fiction community for his award-winning artistic depictions of fantasy and horror.
Seven other featured guests will also make appearances throughout the weekend, including astronaut Dr. Stanley G. Love. With over 300 hours of experience in space, Love will speak on the possibility of humans going to Mars and what life is like living on the International Space Station.
“He actually works specifically as a management astronaut now, working on the research and development for deep space travel,” Convention Chair Aislinn Burrows said. “So a lot of our science discussions this year are centered around the ‘what is it going to take to get us there’.”
In addition to visiting booths and listening to speakers, SoonerCon attendees will also have an opportunity to support a charitable cause. This year, SoonerCon is partnering with Positive Tomorrows, a private, tuition-free elementary school serving homeless children in Oklahoma City. Burrows said convention committee members hope to surpass the $7,000 total raised last year.
“There is an incredible need in the community to combat the fallout of what poverty does, suppressing opportunity in education,” she said.
The funds, raised through an on-site charity store and a live auction, will support the construction of a new school facility at 901. N. Villa in Oklahoma City. The new building will allow Positive Tomorrows to serve children up through the eighth grade, Burrows said.
Volunteers from SoonerCon assisted the staff of Positive Tomorrows during their new facility groundbreaking last week, Fenwick said.
“We had folks from SoonerCon helping out, making sure people had a place to park,” Fenwick said. “It really does continue to be, hopefully, a lifelong bond with the event and the charity.”
Those interested in attending may purchase a one day pass for $25, or a weekend pass for $50 online at soonercon.com. Tickets purchased at the convention center will include an additional $5 dollar fee. Children under 12 years old enter free with purchase of adult admission.
More information on SoonerCon, including a full list of speakers and events, may be found at soonercon.com.