Awesome Con 2024, Part 1: Once More, With Feeling

AwesomeCon 2024
The winners of the 2024 Awesome Con cosplay competition.

Fans assembled in Washington, DC this past weekend (March 8 to March 10, 2024) for Awesome Con 2024, headlined by Star Wars and Marvel stars.

The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, located in downtown Washington, DC, hosted the 2024 edition of Awesome Con this past weekend. Though the convention was earlier this year than previous June iterations, the convention remained an awesome place for fans to gather, share their love of fandom, and explore the convention’s abundance of offerings.

This year’s event was headlined by Ahsoka stars Rosario Dawson, Hayden Christensen, and Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Marvel’s Charlie Cox and Alaqua Cox, and Smallville’s Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum. In addition, the convention featured cast reunions for Breaking Bad and Josie & The Pussycats.

In addition to the guests, Awesome Con made a concerted effort to provide a wide variety of programming and vendors. The Book Fair, Science Fair, and Pride Alley were returning favorites, while a brand-new area called Anime Yokocho hosted anime-themed programming and vendors throughout the weekend. The commitment to the variety of programming and in particular the inclusion of diversity in both panels and vendors has always been my favorite part of the convention.

Though much of the weekend was in fact awesome, some parts weren’t. While Awesome Con excelled in its variety of programming, there didn’t seem to be as much in the attending guests. While having six different cast members solely there from Breaking Bad isn’t inherently an issue, having that many guests related to one show helps illustrate how few fandoms were represented. As much as I love Star Wars, the MCU, and the other juggernaut fandoms, I would love it if Awesome Con also included guests from smaller fandoms.

While I didn’t end up meeting with any of the celebrity guests this year, I heard reports that Hayden Christensen and Rosario Dawson were overbooked for autographs. After the conclusion of their panel, the last one of the day, the two were still trying to honor all of the autograph tickets purchased. The two were likely exhausted despite being well-compensated for their efforts, and many fans missed out on programming due to spending much of their day in line.

In addition, the main stage panels I went to felt more disorganized than usual. Most of them didn’t start on time and the only one that did was due to Tom Welling mistakenly climbing up on stage instead of going backstage to wait to be introduced. While it’s understandable that the Alaqua Cox panel required special arrangements with two sign language interpreters, it seemed like the setup wasn’t discussed ahead of time. Though the panels were ultimately fun to watch, it felt like I spent more time watching the DJ entertain the crowd than the actual panels.

Regardless, the convention was still a lot of fun. The costume contest was spectacular as usual, and having actor Orlando Jones announce the cosplayers to the crowd added a level of excitement to the show. To me, the smaller moments of the weekend were the ones I enjoyed the most: seeing the amazing cosplay around the convention center, browsing all the vendors on the show floor, being part of a group singalong of a “Weird Al” Yankovic Star Wars parody song, complete with people in the crowd swinging their light sabers in unison as they waited for the start of the Hayden Christensen and Rosario Dawson panel.

My personal favorite moment of the weekend was finding the one piece of DC’s Stargirl art in the entirety of the show floor and getting to briefly discuss the show with the artist. While a TV series based on a DC Comics property doesn’t technically qualify as a small fandom, seeing art for it is rare, and getting the opportunity to connect with another fan is ultimately what the convention experience is about.

Overall, my Awesome Con 2024 experience was enjoyable, and I look forward to going back to next year’s show.

Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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