Add the Unexpected to Your Event by Piggybacking on These 5 Conventions

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Comic-Con, unconventional conventions, quirky conventions, World Clown Assocation, Anthrocon, Merfest, International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, The Association of Lincoln Presenters,
Anthrocon; Photo Credit: Douglas Muth

If you start to analyze some of today’s unconventional conventions, you’ll realize that people really like to dress up.

While the Comic-Con and Star Trek Conventions of the world are obvious places to let out your inner geek, there are so many more unexpected conventions that give people an outlet to gather with other like-minded people who share similar, let’s say, unusual hobbies. Between Lincoln impersonators, furries and mermaids, these five quirky conventions know how to attract a colorful crowd—and can serve as inspiration for meeting planners looking to amp up their events a notch or 20.

World Clown Association

You either hate clowns or you love them, but the World Clown Association certainly sides with the latter. This year’s annual convention will be held March 12-16 in Bloomington, Minn., with the theme “Ringling Remembered ­– A Tribute to Historic Clowns.” The event will be chock full of performances by former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus performers as well as clown educators and competitors sure to inspire a chuckle or two.

The Association of Lincoln Presenters

Some people like history and then some people want to completely relive it. The members of The Association of Lincoln Presenters are those people. Held April 19-22 in Freeport, Ill., the association’s annual convention attracts attendees who share one common goal: to mimic the look of Lincoln for re-enactments, parades and school events.

International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas

Yes, there is an association for all the real bearded Santas who come out of the woodworks each holiday season to bring cheer to the masses. During their time off though, they meet at the annual International Santa Celebration, which is being held this year in Denver, April 18-22. Attendees can check out educational sessions that cover everything from the ethics of being a Christmas performer to the history of Saint Nicholas.


Furries, or people who like to dress up as stuffed animals, seem to have taken the world by storm, and Anthrocon provides a space for “anthropomorphics” to really take place, with more than 7,500 attendees in attendance each year. Anthrocon 2018, being held July 5-8 in Pittsburgh, encourages attendees to celebrate “Movie Monsters” — ahem, the rabbit in Donnie Darko — this year.


Merfest is for all those girls and boys who never wanted to leave the world of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” This July 18-22 in Palm Beach, Fla., those who describe themselves as MerFolk can put on their mermaid costumes and join fellow attendees for a week of snorkeling, deep dives, luaus and other traditional under-the-sea fun.

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