Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Typical Star Trek convention booths

A typical Star Trek convention

Star Trek conventions are organized gatherings of Star Trek fans. The larger ones usually have stars and production staff speak or at least sign autographs. It is also common for there to be booths where vendors will sell Trek-related merchandise or collectors will sell and trade. Most of the formerly Trek-only conventions of the mid '90s have now expanded to include other sci-fi and fantasy series.

Notable conventions Edit

The first Star Trek convention Edit

James Doohan speaks at Star Trek convention

James Doohan speaks to the crowd at an early Star Trek convention

The convention held in New York from 21-23 January 1972 is often recognized as the first true Star Trek convention, even though Star Trek: The Original Series had already made its presence felt at earlier (as early as its second season, then still being in production, and ultimately leading up to the establishment of Lincoln Enterprises), more generic science fiction conventions. The earliest known such presence was the 1–5 September 1966 "Tricon World Science Fiction Convention" in Cleveland, Ohio, where Gene Roddenberry promoted the new Star Trek series, slated to start airing the subsequent week, as well as presenting the audiences the first two pilot episodes for the series, "The Cage" (uncut original version) and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (revised version, as this episode was already slated to air). (The Star Trek Compendium, 1993, pp. 1-3) To this date, the franchise continues to make its presence felt outside the specialized Star Trek convention circuit as well, such as the hugely popular ComicCons.

The specialized "true" Star Trek conventions were started by a small group of Trekkies, commonly referred to as "The Committee" – not to be confused with the similarly named one, organized by Roddenberry and several science fiction writers in 1967, for the very first "save Star Trek" letter campaign (not the famed 1968 one) – , who combined their money, and rented a hotel ballroom, in the hope of getting a group of like-minded fans together. Committee member Joan Winston, whose main responsibility was that of the dealer's room, gives a detailed account of the first convention in Star Trek Lives!. Other members included Allan Asherman, Eileen Becker, Elyse Pines, Steve Rosenstein and Al Schuster.

Although the original estimate of attendees was only a few hundred, several thousand had turned up before the end of the convention, which featured a program of events of an art show, costume contest, a display provided by NASA and a dealers room. Episodes were also screened from 16mm prints, including the original pilot "The Cage" and blooper reel. A number of Trek-connected guest speakers also attended including Trek's creator, Gene Roddenberry, Majel Barrett, D.C. Fontana, as well as science fiction author Isaac Asimov. One of the most surprising guest speakers, had been former Desilu executive Oscar Katz in his one and only public Star Trek appearance, recounting the days when Roddenberry made his Star Trek is... pitch to him and his colleague Herb Solow and the subsequent efforts to sell the series to the networks. (Marketing the Moon: The Selling of the Apollo Lunar Program, 2014, p. 3)

After this gathering, a series of annual events was organized, which soon included regular cast members, of which DeForest Kelley, Nichelle Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, and James Doohan give their own account in the film Trekkies.

Star Trek 30: One Weekend On Earth Edit

Star Trek 30: One Weekend On Earth was held 7 September 19968 September 1996 in Huntsville, Alabama at the US Space and Rocket Center and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. The event was attended by each of the casts and crews, including the entire cast of the original Star Trek series – the last time they all appeared on stage together. This convention was also the last such event Star Trek's licensing arm directly produced. [1](X) [2]

One of the Hosts present was Mr. Roger Manley, who lives in the Huntsville Area. Mr. Manley also was in charge of Security for the Guests, which included Deforest Kelly (Dr. Bones McCoy), Nichelle Nichols (Communications Officer Uhura), Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov), James Doohan (Engineer Scotty), and George Takei (Helmsman Sulu)--all cast members from the Original Series from the 60's TV Show. Both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock, respectively) were not in audience until shortly before the beginning of the festivities. Absent was Mr. Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Series; he had passed away in 1991.

FedCon Edit

Denise Crosby, FedCon 2003

Denise Crosby speaks to the crowd at FedCon XI

FedCon, short for Federation Convention, is Europe's largest annual sci-fi convention, held in Bonn, Germany (occasionally it was held in Düsseldorf and Fulda). It started in 1992 as a pure Star Trek convention, but has expanded to include various other film and television series. The film Trekkies 2 visited FedCon XI (2003), and FedCon XV (2006) was also a stop on the international tour of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection exhibition. Attendance at FedCon XI averaged 5,000 per day.

Creation conventions Edit

Creation official convention 2006, Christie's exhibit

The Christie's auction exhibit at the 2006 Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas

Creation Entertainment was founded in 1971, and has been producing "traveling" Star Trek conventions for many years in cities all over North America and Great Britain. At the height of Star Trek's popularity in the early to mid '90s, Creation was organizing 110 conventions per year, sometimes three in one weekend. They have a long licensing history with Paramount and Viacom Consumer Products, and have sold nearly US$12 million of official Trek merchandise. Creation started its association with Star Trek in 1991, when it attained a license from Paramount "for the production of film stills", encompassing a landmark agreement for the entire franchise that covered photos as well as a wide range of collectible souvenirs. [3] Recently, they began holding the annual Official Star Trek convention—first with the "Grand Slam" event each spring in Los Angeles and then Pasadena, Calif., but beginning 2002 in conjunction with Star Trek: The Experience at the former Las Vegas Hilton, in August. By 2005, 15,000 people bought tickets to the Las Vegas convention. The event, in parlance abbreviated to "VegasCon" or the hashtag #STLV, moved to the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino in 2011, two years after The Experience closed.

The special 2006 40th anniversary official convention was held in Las Vegas on 17 August through 20 August. It was a stop on the international tour of the 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection exhibition, and featured in the documentary Star Trek: Beyond the Final Frontier produced by The History Channel. For the first time ever, the 50th anniversary convention was a complete sellout, and had expanded to five days.

Vulkon conventions Edit

Chris Avilla with props

Chris Avilla displaying some of his props at a Vulkon convention

Vulkon has been running conventions since 1987 in places like Orlando, Cleveland, Houston, and Atlanta. Vulkon features a banquet with the stars, a live DJ and dance on Saturday evenings, and a costume contest. Normaly two Vulkons are held each year in Orlando, Florida one in the spring and one in the fall with an average attendance of between 1,500 and 2,000 people. As of late 2008, the company has filed for bankruptcy and subsequently dissolved.

Offical Web Site of Vulkon

Chris Avilla was a Vulkon convention staffer before he became a prop maker for several Star Trek productions.

Espatrek Edit

The Espatrek is heir of the previous conventions held in Spain which are very different to the homologous ones held in US and Europe, starting with the fact that is one of the cheapest conventions in the world.

It is true that they work with illusion in order to have distinguished guests too but the main difference between the spanish convention and the foreign ones is that Espatrek is non-profit. It is an officious convention, done by the fans for the fans, and among its activities prevail the creativity, imagination and nice atmosphere. Plays and short fan-films based in Star Trek, games prepared and invented by the fans, round-table conferences, quizzes and shows, bloopers... they are just some examples of the activities to be enjoyed in Espatrek. In these activities they are combined more humorous and distended activities – in which we show our ability of having fun by laughing at ourselves and at our hobby – with activities of more serious nature – where we show our ability for developing our creativity and for thinking over the things Star Trek drives us to-. Besides, in the last editions they have organized several conferences hosted by specialists on the subjects of the saga, where not only do the fans offer their point of view but where it is also pretended to create the interest in general public and get it closer to Star Trek.

Starbase Indy Edit

Starbase Indy was conceived by a group of fans in 1988. The concept was simple, a convention that was run by the fans for the fans. 2010 will represent the 15th incarnation of the convention since that time; it is traditionally held during the extended Thanksgiving weekend. Among guests for 2010 were Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips. It is still entirely fan-run, and has been complimented by guests such as W. Morgan Sheppard and Garrett Wang for the intelligent and insightful discussions that happen in the Q&A Panels and at the signing tables. Starbase Indy prides itself on maintaining the tradition of fan-run cons, like charity auctions and blood drives.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit