Celebrate Gen Con 50 on Family Fun Day
Indianapolis has become a city known for its unrivaled ability to host large events. Be it Super Bowl XLVI, Indy 500, Black Expo, Indy Fringe Festival or one of the largest conferences in North America, Gen Con. This year, from Aug. 17-20, this now legendary gaming convention will once again ascend upon the Indianapolis Convention Center to celebrate “the best four days in gaming” with a focus on role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, plus card games, strategy games, miniature wargames and traditional pen-and-paper and board games. This year is even more special, as Gen Con will be commemorating its 50-year anniversary. This long-standing convention has only been in Indy since 2003, however, but it seems it has officially found a home in our fair city.
In recent years, Gen Con has taken it upon themselves to encourage family attendance by adding new badge packages and programming geared towards children and their parents. Gen Con has even devoted a special day just for families on Sunday, Aug. 20. On this day only, families can purchase four badges for just $45. A plethora of companies and gaming groups have put together Sunday-only events and entertainment activities geared specifically towards families allowing you to wonder worry-free throughout the grounds. Once you purchase your ticket, simply head over to the Coupon Book kiosk to pick up a copy of the Family Fun Day Passport Booklet to peruse any of the thousand game-centric activities. While Sunday is the only day offering this package deal, the Family Fun Pavilion will host all sorts of fun for kids and their parents all weekend long. There’s an exhibit hall showcasing the hottest new game demos where both kids and parents alike can enjoy what’s new in the gaming world. The exhibit hall also features a shop where kids can pick out a new toy or a board game the whole family can enjoy. The Training Grounds is another place designed for kids. Here you’ll find a great opportunity to introduce your little ones to gaming through a variety of activities. If your toddler needs a place to burn off some of that excited-gaming energy, the Training Grounds provides an open space where children can run freely without having to deal with the traffic of the convention center. Kids will also no doubt enjoy the art throughout the convention including the giant balloon sculpture, and the Puppet Program featuring puppet shows by a real Sesame Street puppeteer and puppet karaoke. Family Fun Buttons are back this year in the ultimate family scavenger hunt. Here, families get the opportunity to roam the convention grounds seeking out a hidden collection of commemorative buttons. Find all ten and earn a special Gen Con 50 button prize.
Don’t worry parents, Gen Con has you covered as well. Among the over 16,000 events over the weekend you can find art shows, writer’s symposiums, costume contests, film screenings, rare anime selections, live music (including a performance by They Might Be Giants) and a digital gaming area with arcades and retro games. Also, Sun King will be there as the official beer sponsor of Gen Con 50 where they’ve crafted a special Golden-Ale brew aptly named Dragon’s Delight just for this event.
In honor of the 50th Gen Con, this year’s event will expand to Lucas Oil Stadium onto the Colts field where a life-size 10,000 square-foot True Dungeon will be built. Also new this year to help celebrate this milestone will be a tribute to the first ever Gen Con which was held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1976.
Hoosiers have come to love Gen Con over the years. Many bars, restaurants and local businesses get in the gaming spirit each year by hosting after-hours events and welcoming these costume-clad attendees with open arms. Attendance has steadily risen since the festival’s move to Indy over a decade ago, creating around $70-million of revenue for local businesses during this mid-August weekend. As of 2016, over 60,000 people attended Gen Con making it one of the largest overall conventions in North America and a proud Indianapolis tradition.
Feature Photo: Raymond Rohana with F.C. Tucker