GEEKcon returns for a sixth year

What to expect and how the event is organized

More stories from Winter Heffernan

April 3, 2023

Photo by McKenna Dirks

Rob Mattison, former owner of a Comic Book shop, began GEEKcon in 2017 after looking for a project that could bring together the Eau Claire community.

The sixth annual GEEKcon will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 3 on the third floor of the Davies Center

According to Cade Schave, a fourth-year psychology student in the traditional media team, the event will feature vendors, LEGO, board games, e-sports, panels, live performances and cosplay.

Schave explained that admission is free for anyone with a school ID. Admission for community members is a suggested donation of $3 or two non-perishable food items. The donated food will be given to the Campus Harvest Food Pantry.

“There are all kinds of different talents we are bringing together and showcasing,” Schave said.

According to GEEKcon’s website, the tables this year will host over 60 different vendors in the Ojibwe Ballroom. These businesses will be selling a wide range of different products such as dice, original art, novels and dog biscuits. 

The Centennial room will be open through the entire event, and available for attendants to play board games or tabletop roleplaying. 

LEGO creations will be displayed in the Alumni Room. A build competition will also be hosted during GEEKcon.

Five different groups will be giving musical performances at different times throughout the day in the Woodland Theater. Six panels will be hosted in the Menominee and Ho-Chunk rooms throughout the event’s duration, discussing and explaining passions.

In addition to the LEGO contests, there will also be E-sports tournaments. This year will host public Super Smash Bros Ultimate tournaments and also feature competitions between UW- Eau Claire’s E-sports team and the UW-River Falls E-sports team.

“It’s a place for people to come show their talents, hobbies and passions,” said Meredith Voss, a fourth-year communications student who is also part of the traditional media team.

Each year of GEEKcon has brought with it a theme unique to each year. Last year’s theme was a play on Star Wars with the title being “Return of the geeks,” which described the return of in-person interactions after covid.

“Our theme this year is ‘Geek’in through the years,’” Voss said, “We wanted to have a play on different generations. We are going to have different themes ranging from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.” 

Schave explained that there are two key figures in planning the event: Robert Mattison, who works for UW- Eau Claire in the LTS department, and Nicole Schultz, a professor of journalism and communication at UW-Eau Claire.

Voss explained that each year Nicole Schultz teaches a class called CJ 351, Event Planning. The goal of the class is to put together and host GEEKcon. Students are all given specific roles and jobs. These students are given the responsibility to put together this annual event.

“This class has opened up my eyes to new possibilities for after college,” Voss said, “Because I am a communication major this is something that has really opened up my eyes to being something that I could do. It’s cool to see the behind-the-scenes on how an event gets planned.”

For more information on GEEKcons past, present and future, visit their webpage.

Heffernan can be reached at [email protected].