Once or twice a year, I go to a convention. A sci-fi/fantasy type of convention is my preferred setting. I have been known to go to a work related convention (which can also be fun). In years past, I've been mostly to Radcon over in eastern Washington. I recall going to one of the first ones when it was still over in Richland and I was just old enough to drive myself. No parents! Yay! That first con was underwhelming to say the least. I probably didn't know what to expect and came away with an empty feeling. I didn't go to another for several years.
The years have gone by and I added the convention to my existence. It's been normally a annual thing. Up until 2008, it was Radcon. As of this year, it is Norwescon. Oddly enough, the two conventions are kind of same. Norwescon is the bigger of the two but they are both literary types of conventions. Both hosts a multitude of authors in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Radcon has a more science bent to it. Norwescon has the annual Philip K. Dick awards. Both are filled with costumes, room parties, dances, and many new friends. I felt at home at Norwescon and saw many people from Radcon.
The cons are generally a good time. So good I would like to add another convention to my list. There are lots to pick from. Some even local. PAX, a all game type convention, happens Labor Day weekend. Sakura-con is an anime/manga/Japanese con that, unfortunately, happens the same weekend as Norwescon. There's Dragonflight which is a table-top game con during the middle of August. There are a lot more smaller cons, too many to mention but I will point you in the right direction, and many more cons that happen in other places of the US and/or the World.
I would love nothing more than to attend each and every one of them. Of course, I have not found those winning lotto numbers yet so all cons shall remain a pipe dream. Though it is conceivable to add at least one more con. In 2010, I will kind of do that with the insertion of an unschooling conference in May. We were slotted to go last year but sickness said NO! It will certainly be different from my normal convention and I hope to meet new people.
There's something magical about being surrounded by others who are interested in the exact same things as you are. And then there are the one offs where you learn about something new. I probably won't stop going to conventions. They are just filled with too much much goodness and newness. If you haven't ever gone to a convention for your favorite hobby or some other personal interest, I encourage to find one local to you and try it out. You'll have a great few days which you'll remember for years to come.