From the moment I slipped the badge around my neck and fastened ribbons to it, I felt welcomed. Jordan Con was by far the friendliest convention I have ever attended. The first person I spoke to, who to my knowledge was just another con attendee, not only pointed me toward the restroom but accompanied me there. She cheerfully checked to see if I was aware of the Con Suite location, the Face Book page and the numerous parties which are held during Jordan Con after dark. I felt like I belonged. No one ever quizzed me about what level of nerd I was and I didn’t feel the need to proclaim which books I had read.
The panels were small and felt like conversations. Even the larger panels, like the fast-paced spoiler heavy QA panel led by Brandon Sanderson, seemed intimate and welcoming. With under 1000 guests, Jordan Con is large enough to get a vast array of colorful and well costumed personalities while remaining small enough to meet them all.
Jordan Con is a fantasy literature convention. While there is a whole track dedicated to its name sake, Robert Jordan and his epic fantasy novel series the "Wheel of Time", the convention has a lot more to offer. There are eight themed programming tracks, an art show and gaming. There was also an auction which raised money for the Mayo Clinic (a non-profit medical group).
Jordan Con is hosted at the Crowne Plaza (Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia hotel). It’s relatively swanky and they have the nicest folks working at their Starbucks that I have ever encountered. The Con itself is inexpensive with a three-day membership of just $65.00. This membership includes access to the Con Suite. I had heard boasts of Jordan Con’s Con suite prowess prior to attendance and I assure you my expectations were high. I was not disappointed, sure there were a lot of hot dogs, but they were of good quality and there was plenty of options for a pescatarian like myself as well. Understanding the pallets of their attendees, gluten free and vegetarian options were available along with plenty of drinks and yummy cookies. I was pleased to see home made products had ingredient cards placed next to them.
Con attendees whether costumed or not could easily be identified by their heavily ribboned badges. I saw many literature fans with ribbons hanging from their Con badges down to their knees. While some badges proclaimed that an individual was a Director or a Volunteer most badges boasted of years attended and very very specific fandom references. There was one other bright shining beacon that a person in the lobby was with the Con; a tiara. While purchasing a tiara in the nicely sized dealers hall I asked why it was that almost everyone seemed to be donning one. The story told me was that there is a Deep South Con committee and its chair always wore a tiara and sash. She was such a trend setter that all of the other women started wearing tiaras after her example. “I guess we are all just special and deserve to treat ourselves as such” the vendor told me.
By Sunday I was wearing a Tiara and a JordanCon t-shirt. I don’t know if I breathed in too much stormlight or if I was touched by ta’veren but I’ve been converted. I’ll be back next year when the Con begins again on April 26th 2019.