|Genre||Science fiction convention
|Venue||DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington – Minneapolis South|
|Organized by||CONvergence Events, Inc.|
CONvergence is an annual convention for fans of Science Fiction and Fantasy in all media: a 4-day event with more than 6,000 members. This fan-run SciFi convention is held annually at the Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington on the first full weekend in July in Minnesota, United States.
CONvergence runs many parallel programming tracks, filling several convention rooms simultaneously with panels, speeches, demonstrations, recognitions, and screenings. It is one of the most-attended fan-run conventions in North America, with paid attendance just under 6,000.
The convention is known for several unique attractions including Cinema Rex, a couch-and-recliner-filled movie room; Theater Nippon, featuring anime; Connie's Space Lounge, a music and entertainment venue; COF2E2, a free coffee bar; CONsuite, hospitality and food; Harmonic CONvergence, which features musical acts; and the Dorian Gray Memorial Literary Lounge, a reading-and-writing setting.
There is also gaming (board, card, and roleplaying), an art show, an art auction, a dealer's room, all-night bardic music circles, and dozens of room parties of various themes. The walls of the convention are usually plastered with advertisements for different parties.
Multiple tracks of panel programming are provided in the plaza and atrium meeting rooms.
Cinema Rex hosts movies, while the Anime room shows anime throughout the weekend. Both rooms provide free drinks, popcorn and candy. Cinema Rex has sofa seating. In the past, Cinema Rex provided free pizza with one of its movies, usually one starring Kurt Russell.
The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are held on the Main Stage.
The highly regarded Masquerade is held Saturday night, displaying the best in costuming and cosplay creations, usually with short skits.
Music events are also held on the main stage.
Various events are held in the huge indoor Garden Court, which also serves as a mingling area. The east side of the Garden Court & pool area contains the Consuite rooms on the upper level, and other hospitality rooms on the lower level, such as the COF2E2 bar and book swap library. The Garden Court is surrounded by two levels of Cabana rooms, north and south which serve as party rooms during the convention.
The con's mascot is the gynoid "Connie", who is occasionally opposed by Connie's scheming younger sister, "Connie Mk. II".
An inflatable tyrannosaur named Rex serves as Cinema Rex's mascot and is often involved in the Masquerade as well.
Annual themes and guests of honor
The number in parentheses after each guest's name is how many times they have been a CONvergence guest of honor as of the year in question.
1999 - "After All, it's Just a Party"
- Forrest J. Ackerman† (1) - SF historian and collector
- Pam Keesey (1) - Author of Vamps! and other fiction
- Harry Knowles (1) - Ain't It Cool News
- Jay Knowles (1) - Ain't It Cool News
- Gordon Purcell (1) - Comic book artist
- Gary Russell (1) - Producer of the Doctor Who audio series
2000 - "No one can tell you what CONvergence is... you have to experience it for yourself." (The Matrix and similar fiction)
(this is the only CONvergence not to be held at the Bloomington Radisson/Sheraton/DoubleTree. This CONvergence was held at the Radisson (now the Crowne Plaza) in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota)
- Neil Gaiman (1) - Author of books, comics and film
- Peg Kerr (1) - Award-winning author
- Regina Pancake (1) - Hollywood prop creator
- Ruth Thompson (1) - Fantasy artist
- Keith Topping (1) - Author of Doctor Who novels and more
- Cast and crew of Go To Hell! (1)
2001 - "Curioser and Curioser" (Alice in Wonderland and similar fiction)
- Harry Knowles (2) - Movie critic and web entrepreneur
- Peter Mayhew (1) - Chewbacca in Star Wars
- Michael Sheard† (1) - British SF movie and television actor
- Eleanor Arnason (1) - Award-winning author
- Crist Ballas (1) - Movie makeup artist
- Jay Knowles (1) - Web entrepreneur
- C.H. Morgan (1) - Sci-fi and fantasy artist
2002 - "If Adventure Has A Name..." (Adventure themes in speculative fiction)
- Diane Duane (1) - Popular author of books and television
- Peter Morwood (1) - Sci-fi and fantasy author
- Mark Altman (1) - "Trekspert" and co-creator of Free Enterprise and
- Robert Meyer Burnett (1) - Co-creator of Free Enterprise and director
- Nene Thomas (1) - Popular award-winning fantasy artist
- Daren Dochterman (1) - Designer and illustrator for over 35 feature films
- Adam 'Mojo' Lebowitz (1) - author and former lead animation supervisor for Foundation Imaging
2003 - "Time Flies" (Time travel)
- Michael Sheard† (2) - Actor in Star Wars, Last Crusade, and many other projects
- Andrew Probert (1) - Production designer for Star Trek
- Eric Flint (1) - Author and editor of many books
- John Kovalic (1) - Dork Tower and Dork Storm Press
- Katherine Kurtz (1) - Author of the Deryni trilogies and stories
2004 - "Out of the Shadows" (The dark side of speculative fiction)
- Denise Garner (1) - Romantic fantasy artist
- David Gerrold (1) - Science fiction/fantasy author of many books
- Larry Niven (1) - Author of many science fiction books, including the Ringworld series
- Vincent Truitner (1) - Animation and CGI artist
- Christian Colquhoun (1) - Physical effects artist
- Crist Ballas (2) - Physical effects artist
- Len Wein (1) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine
- Dr. Jim Kakalios (1) - University of Minnesota physics professor, author of The Science of Superheroes
- Mercedes Lackey (1) - Author of many popular novels, including the Valdemar and Bardic Voices series and folk music lyricist
- Larry Dixon (1) - Co-author of Mage Wars and Dariens Tale series, author of many short stories and game material and fantasy artist
- Marv Wolfman (1) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Blade, Bullseye, and The New Teen Titans
- Harry and Jay Knowles (3) - Ain't It Cool News
2006 - "Boldly Go." (space exploration)
- Eric Flint (2) - Author and editor of many great books
- J. G. Hertzler (1) - actor on Star Trek as General Martok
- Ken Hite (1) - role-playing game author and designer
- Bridget Landry (1) - astronomer and engineer on the Cassini probe mission
- Robert O'Reilly (1) - Actor in many well-known science fiction TV series including Star Trek as Chancellor Gowron
- Miles Teves (1) - set designer
- David Weber (1) - author of military sci-fi
- Greg Weisman (1) - TV and comic book writer
(Originally, Gary Russell had been scheduled to attend but had to decline due to conflicting obligations)
2007 - "Creature Feature" (horror and monsters)
- Emily Hagins (1) - Writer and director of the zombie movie Pathogen
- Brian Keene (1) - Author
- Bernie Wrightson (1) - Comic book artist, co-creator of Swamp Thing
- Lois McMaster Bujold (1) - Sci-fi and fantasy author
- Wally Wingert (1) - Voice actor
- John Kovalic (2) - Dork Tower, Out of the Box Games
2008 - "Ten Years 1999-2008" (10th CONvergence)
- Crist Ballas (3) - make-up artist
- Trace Beaulieu (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Doctor Clayton Forrester and Crow T. Robot) and Cinematic Titanic
- Robert Meyer Burnett (2) - Co-creator of Free Enterprise and director
- Christian Colquhoun (2) - Physical effects artist
- Larry Dixon (2) - Co-author of Mage Wars and Dariens Tale series, author of many short stories and game material and fantasy artist
- Daren Dochterman (2) - Designer and illustrator for over 35 feature films
- Mark Evanier (1) - writer of comics and television shows
- Eric Flint (3) - author
- Ken Hite (2) - role-playing game author and designer
- Dr. Jim Kakalios (2) - University of Minnesota physics professor, author of The Science of Superheros
- Harry Knowles (4) - Ain't It Cool News
- Jay Knowles (4) - Ain't It Cool News
- John Kovalic (3) - Dork Tower
- Mercedes Lackey (2) - Author of many popular novels, including the Valdemar and Bardic Voices series and folk music lyricist
- Bridget Landry (2) - astronomer and engineer on the Cassini probe mission
- Peter Mayhew (2) - Chewbacca in Star Wars
- Andrew Probert (2) - Production designer for Star Trek
- Vincent Truitner (2) - animator
- David Weber (2) - author
- Len Wein (2) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine
- Greg Weisman (2) - producer and writer
- Wally Wingert (2) - voice actor
- Marv Wolfman (2) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Blade, Bullseye, and The New Teen Titans
(Originally, Bernie Wrightson had been scheduled to attend as one of the many returning guests of honor for year ten, but was unable to do so at the last minute.)
2009 - "This Con Goes to 11" (Humor in Science-Fiction and Fantasy, also the 11th CONvergence)
- Trace Beaulieu (2) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Doctor Clayton Forrester and Crow T. Robot) and Cinematic Titanic
- Joel Hodgson (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Creator and on-air host Joel Robinson (seasons 1-5)) and Cinematic Titanic
- Frank Conniff (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (TV's Frank) and Cinematic Titanic
- Mary Jo Pehl (1) - - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Pearl Forrester) and Cinematic Titanic
- Brian Keene (2) - Author of The Rising
- Kelly McCullough (1) - Author of WebMage (ISBN 0441014259)
- Dwayne McDuffie (1) - Creator of Static Shock
- Patrick Rothfuss (1) - Author of The Name of the Wind
2010 - "Bring on the Bad Guys" (12th CONvergence)
- L.A. Banks - Author of the Vampire Huntress Legend series of novels as well as the Crimson Moon, Dark Avengers and Soul Food series.
- Jeremy Bulloch - Actor with credits including The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (Boba Fett)
- Paul Cornell - Writer for Doctor Who (television, novels, audio), novelist and writer for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI-13).
- Bridget Landry (3) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory Engineer (Hubble, Mars Pathfinder, and Cassini missions) and Master-level costumer.
- Chuck McCann - Veteran comedian, actor, and cartoon voiceover artist, voice of Sonny the Cuckoo Bird.
- Wally Wingert (3) - Voice actor with credits including Invader Zim (Almighty Tallest Red), Bleach (Renji Abarai), and The Garfield Show (Jon).
2011 - "Tomorrow through the Past" (13th CONvergence) CONvergence 2011 was the last event held at the Sheraton Minneapolis South before it changed brands to Doubletree on July 12.
- Jason Carter - Actor, Dead Matter, Babylon 5
- Edward Douglas - Gothic horror Fantasy musician, Midnight Syndicate
- Brian Keene (3) - Novelist/comic writer, Grave Conditions, The Last Zombie (returning GoH)
- Seanan McGuire - Urban fantasist, October Daye, InCryptid, Newsflesh
- Paul and Storm - Special musical performers
- Lynne M. Thomas - librarian, author, editor of Chicks Dig Time Lords
- Anthony Tollin - Historian/publisher/comics coloorist, The Shadow and Doc Savage reprints
- Catherynne Valente - novelist, poet
- Brian Van Camp - actor, Dead Matter
- Greg Weisman (3) - Animation producer, Gargoyles (returning GoH)
2012 - "Wonder Women" (14th CONvergence), Theme: Female creators and characters of Speculative Fiction
- Bonnie Burton - Writer
- Jenifer Clarke Wilkes - Game publications editor, Wizards of the Coast
- Judith Walcutt - Poet
- Lyda Morehouse - Writer
- Ruth Thompson - Artist
- Sophie Aldred - Actress
- Sharyn November - Editor
- Tamora Pierce - Writer
CONvergence 2012 had 5,980 members.
2013 - "British Invasion" (July 4–7, 2013), 15th CONvergence, Theme: British creators and characters of Speculative Fiction.
- Charlie Jane Anders - Writer and Blogger
- Lou Anders - Editor
- Caitlin Blackwood - Actress
- Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy – of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax
- John Picacio - Artist
- Paul Cornell (2) - Writer for Doctor Who (television, novels, audio), novelist and writer for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI-13).
- James Moran - Screenwriter Severance (film), Cockneys vs. Zombies, and Tower Block (film)
- Melinda Snodgrass - Author and Scriptwriter
CONvergence 2013 had 6,789 members.
- Greg Weisman (4)
- Greg Guler (Gargoyles character designer)
- Marina Sirtis (Demona from Gargoyles, and Deanna Troi from STTNG)
- Matthew Ebel (musician)
- C. Robert Cargill
- Scott Lynch
- Amy Berg
- Emma Bull
- Sarah Clemens
CONvergence 2014 had 6369 members.
2015 - "DoublePlusGood" (July 2–5, 2015), 17th CONvergence with 6252 attendees, Theme: Dystopias 
Connie Mark 2 - In the tradition of running the convention with volunteers, Connie Mark 2 has stepped up to run the convention: "You know Big Brother. Wait till you get a load of Little Sister!!!"
- Wesley Chu
- Nicole Dubuc
- Chad Frey
- Charlotte Fullerton
- Lee Harris
- Jennifer Ouellette
- Gordon Smuder
- Toni Weisskopf
- Bryan Thao Worra
CONvergence 2015 had 6252 members.
2016 - "...And How Do We GET There?" (June 30–July 3, 2016), 18th CONvergence with 5928 attendees, Theme: The great vehicles and transport of science fiction and fantasy
- Amal El-Mohtar
- Amy Shira Teitel
- Cam Banks
- Christopher Jones (professional comic book artist, attendee, and co-founder; designer of Connie and the other mascots)
- Daren Dochterman
- Greg Weisman (5)
- Joseph Scrimshaw (comedian, actor, and playwright)
- Khary Payton
- Mark Oshiro
- Ytasha Womack
CONvergence 2016 had 5928 members.
2017 - "To Infinity And Beyond" (July 6–9, 2017), 19th CONvergence, Theme: Epic tales of space opera!
- Lois McMaster Bujold
- Kristopher Carter
- Norman Cates
- Eric Chu
- Tracee Lee Cocco
- Naomi Kritzer
- Seanan McGuire
- Jai Nitz
- Ian Truitner
- Saymoukda Vongsay
CONvergence kicks off on the Thursday before the first full weekend in July. While this can occasionally overlap the 4th of July holiday, some of the best firework viewing in the twin cities is on the 22nd floor of the DoubleTree hotel's north tower, which all members have access to.
The 2008 event was the tenth CONvergence, and the convention theme was the addition of a fourth day of events (Thursday, July 3, 2008) added to the schedule. The four-day schedule permanently replaced the three-day schedule.
In 2008, CONvergence was voted "Best Fan Convention" by the City Pages arts/alternative newspaper. It has appeared in "Best of the Cities" in each year afterward until 2011 (when no award was given for "best fan convention" or "best annual convention").
The convention is held at the Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South. The convention handles booking for the entire Doubletree hotel for the 4-day-weekend. From the 2010-2014 convention cycles, an online hotel room reservation system was established. Since 2015, hotel rooms are allocated through random lottery via pre-registrations. CONvergence also has room blocks at the Sheraton and Crowne Plaza. By 2014 the Convergence room block had expanded to eight hotels in the area, with most events being held at the DoubleTree hotel.
The convention began in 1999 at the Bloomington Radisson South Hotel and (with the exception of the 2000 convention) is held every year at the same location, now known as Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington – Minneapolis South.
- "2014 had 6369 members, 2013 Post con report: 6789 registrations". Archived from the original on 2014-04-06.3/9/13: 6,668 2011: 5,031 registrations. 5,980 registrations in 2012, 5,684 attendees.
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- Smith, Rod (17 July 2002). "Geek Chic". City Pages. 23 (1128). Archived from the original on 2007-09-30.
- "Room Parties at Convergence". Archived from the original on 2009-11-24.
- "Panoramic Photos of Garden Court and Room Parties at Convergence".
- "CONvergence 2008 News". 2008-03-18. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- "Convergence". 2014-07-04.
- "Convergence". 2015-07-02.
- "Best Fan Convention". City Pages, LLC. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South".
- "Convergence Room Reservation System". Archived from the original on 2009-04-10.