King of the Con

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sarah Denewellis
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
A legion of storm troopers, a handful of rebels, and a scattering of other easily recognized characters milled about amongst vendors and demonstrators.

The 52nd Fighter Wing's Club Eifel hosted the Sci-Fi Con's ninth annual event in the club's ballroom at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Nov. 21, 2015.

It took more than a year of planning to organize everything that went into this year's event, but it wasn't always the same as what visitors experienced this year. At first, the Sci-Fi Con was originally called the "Star Wars convention."

"I wanted to do something different," said Jarrod Garceau, the program director of Club Eifel who conceived the idea. "So I came up with an idea and said 'you know what? I think people will love this.' I worked with the community center - more specifically Andy Rice - and he backed me and we ran with it. In 2007, we had the first convention. Back then it was called the Star Wars convention, but we updated it now."

Nine years later, the event drew over a thousand visitors annually said Garceau. Organization for the event began before the previous year's event took place. The careful coordination goes beyond drawing in crowds of new Airman every year.

"I actually go to other conventions. I meet people. I ask them if they want to come out. Garceau explained, "Getting on a base for a private convention for a lot of these convention goers, that's a big thing."

Garceau's commitment to the convention and careful outreach garnered the presence of a few noteworthy attendees willing to make appearances and sign autographs.

"Early this year at Lux Con in Luxembourg, the guy that ran that convention said there's this guy running this thing in Germany," said Miltos Yerolemou, film actor in the television show "Game of Thrones", who visited the convention this year.

"I didn't know anything about it. He said you should get in touch with him. I knew it would be different because it's on a military base. He's running his own thing and I liked the sound of it."

The convention has been growing every year, a change which Garceau attributes to a change in a perception over time and the success of the event in previous years.

"It's the success of it that kept it going. All programs are that way," Garceau said.