Supernatural Celebrates 100th Creation Convention in New Jersey!

 

Happy 100th Con Supernatural! Part Two of my NJ/NYC adventures (you can also read about EW’s sneak peek Season 14 premiere party and Jensen and Jared on Live with Kelly and Ryan in Part One here)

EW Supernatural Season 14 Sneak Peek and Jared and Jensen on Live!

The Supernatural New Jersey con is the closest I get to a “home” con – a less than two hour drive from Philly. The key word there being “drive” – as in, no airfare! Woohoo!! I packed up my car with many boxes of books and headed out on Thursday up the NJ Turnpike to scenic Secaucus, happy not to have to deal with airport and parking and TSA. Apparently I got a bit too cocky though, because no sooner had I arrived at the vendor section of the gigantic Meadowlands convention center than I realized that I hadn’t brought my usual backpack for flights to cons – so I had only part of what I needed for my vendor table!

NOOOOO! Luckily the convention center is adjacent to a giant Walmart, so I trekked over and had my promo pics reprinted, then trekked back to finish setting up. (My friends and I returned to Walmart later that night to stock up on supplies for the con weekend, which included an alarming amount of Beefaroni and ramen noodles,  bags of chips and possibly some Lunchables but hey, con weekend!)  We love Embassy Suites with their mini kitchens in the room and free breakfast buffet every morning – between that and the Walmart, we were set. And it’s a good thing, since I was on my own in the vendor room – luckily fandom is always wonderful and generous, with fellow fans offering to grab me drinks and pretzels or time for a bathroom break.

This con was special because it was the 100th Creation Supernatural convention – also christened Schmelke Con for the one person who has been at all 100 and taken over 250,000 photo ops to prove it — the one and only Chris Schmelke! There’s no overestimating the difference Chris has made to these conventions – photo ops are a special thing and nobody knows how to make them more special than Chris. We interviewed Chris for one of our first books, Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, and it was immediately obvious that he truly cares about fans’ experience – he gets it. And so he does everything necessary to make sure those few moments allow a genuine connection. Chris will be the first one to say that Supernatural conventions are unlike any other, and in part that’s because these actors also go out of their way to make the photo ops special.

There were all sorts of special decorations celebrating the 100th con and Creation even handed out bracelets to commemorate the occasion, so it was very cool to be there!

Nothing says happy 100th like this!

Richard introduced Friday’s first guest panelist, Rachel Miner, by giving her well deserved props for her work with Random Acts. She was asked about her initial reaction to her character Meg, and said that she got to read her audition scene with Jared and Jensen. Eric Kripke was there too, and they both ended up laughing; she knew right away that she loved the character.

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The #WoManns Con – Supernatural New Jersey!

New Jersey con holds a special place in my heart, simply because it’s the closest con to my hometown of Philly. That means I can actually drive there instead of flying, which makes being a vendor a bit easier. That also meant I could caption this con ‘Adventures in Vending’ because we definitely had some adventures – and some misadventures.

Being a Supernatural con vendor is like joining a tribe of frankly awesome people. For the SPN Creation cons, it’s mostly the same group of friendly, creative, resourceful folks at every convention – and because those cons happen a few times a month on average, the vendors get to know each other very well. They’re like a group of traveling carnies, moving their wares from one city to the next. They have each other’s backs just like the rest of the SPNFamily does, and I would trust any one of them if I was in a tight spot.

That doesn’t mean vending is easy. My friend Karen offered to help me out at NJCon, so we drove up together. The day before, the FedEx guy delivered my many many boxes of books, each of which weighs over 40 pounds. I bolted out the door as soon as he pulled up and asked what the policy was for leaving the books in my car instead of on my doorstep, and luckily the very nice FedEx man agreed. When Karen and I got in the car the next day, I swear it felt sort of like getting into a rocket ship – the boxes of books in the trunk and back seat made the front of the car point dangerously towards the sky.

With apologies to my poor overburdened Honda Civic, we started out, slowly making our way north to scenic Secaucus. The giant convention center had a back loading dock where we could unload the books, so we drove up there and asked where we could park to unload lots of boxes of books. The bored looking man waved us into a spot and said we could park there. Karen and I looked at the very long ramp across the lot where we would have to enter the convention center and exchanged a look of dismay. That was a steep ramp and a long way with forty pound boxes of books!

True to my always-frantically-busy-and-not-quite-prepared state, I hadn’t been able to find an actual hand cart but I’d brought along my green and white striped beach chair on wheels that doubles as a transport cart. You know, for taking your cooler to the beach or whatever. If it can transport a cooler, I thought, why not a box of books? So Karen and I heaved a box out of the trunk and onto the beach chair. The canvas sagged but didn’t break, so we counted that as a win. Then we began the trek up the long steep ramp. After a few minutes of struggling, we finally got up and into the convention center, wheeled the books and the chair down the hall and found our vendor table. One box down, ten to go!

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NJCon 2016 Sunday – Jared, Jensen and the Real Bob Singer!

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Sunday morning happened early as it always does, with the boys’ morning Gold panel. Jensen was clearly as tired as me, because coffee was a repeated theme all day. He thoroughly owns being grumpy without it – Jensen turns into grumpy Dean apparently. He was pretty bummed that his hotel didn’t have coffee makers in the rooms, which I found entirely understandable after the kind of weekend I was having!

The boys were entertaining as usual, despite the lack of coffee. Jared said he really liked last week’s episode, which was old school SPN – the reason why he fell in love with Supernatural.

Jensen: (pouting) I thought I was the reason you fell in love with Supernatural.

More than one person in the ballroom: Yep.

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Supernatural Comes to the East Coast at NJCon – Friday and Saturday 2016

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I guess you can tell that things have been busy around here – between family and holiday stuff and finishing up the new book, I didn’t manage to find time to write up my NJCon adventures until now. I think that’s a record, but I can’t promise it will stand for too long…. At any rate, here’s my recap of NJCon. Take a little break from Black Friday shopping and peruse the pretty pictures. And stay tuned for part two later today!

Finally, a con I can drive to! It was gorgeous weather and my GPS took me through scenic Pennsylvania countryside with beautiful fall foliage and past pastures with Shetland ponies and lots of antique stores, so I was in a really good mood by the time I got to the hotel. Which was a good thing, because New Jersey is such a weird state (no left turns, everything’s a complicated jug handle or a traffic circle that’s totally not working) that my GPS couldn’t even FIND the hotel. Luckily the friendly staff at Barnes and Noble could, so I made it in plenty of time to set up in the vendor room.

Like every other aspect of Supernatural cons, the vendors who regularly do these cons have become a sort of surrogate family too. Everyone watches out for each other, helps each other set up, lends out tape and markers and scissors and whatever else is needed. Shout out to my fellow vendors!

Thursday was a lot of people coming by to find out what ‘Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls’ and ‘Fan Phenomena Supernatural’ were all about, or coming by to tell us that they had already read them and enjoyed them. Which makes my day every time. I had a lovely late snack with my friend and fellow fangirl, Hansi, who is also the director and producer of the upcoming web series, ‘Squee! The Fangirl Project’. I’m co-writer and associate producer of this celebration of fangirling, so needless to say I’m ridiculously excited about it – the first cut looks amazing!

Friday kicked off with Richard and Rob and Louden Swain, and rules and regulations which now include no live streaming.

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NJCon 2015 – Jensen Meet and Greet Excerpts!

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More from NJCon soon, but for now, I thought I’d share what I was able to go to – so here are some excerpts from Jensen’s meet and greet. Jensen and Jared both were in a great mood – they had mentioned a few weeks before that they’d planned to go see Book of Mormon on Saturday, and apparently they really enjoyed it. (There are a bunch of great pictures with some lucky fans who spotted them in the Big Apple.) That good mood carried over to Sunday as well, which made for a fun meet and greet.

A fan kicked off the conversation by asking about Jensen’s propensity for playing sarcastic self-hating heroic characters, like Alec in Dark Angel and Dean Winchester, and whether he sought out those roles or they just cast him in them.

Jensen (wryly) I don’t know… Maybe it’s me!

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