I had never made it out to Old Tucson Studios for Wild Wild West Convention previously. The fledgling, western-themed steampunk convention always interested me, but time and money had always been a factor. This year, I finally made the decision (last minute, I might add) to attend. My expectations were high, but I kept them marginally at bay as I entered the east entrance, which was opened specifically for con-goers. After an hour or so, I noticed Tucson’s movie-studio-turned-tourist-attraction had continued their admittance of regular, non-con-attending tourists. I had the hope that the convention would overrun the entire lot, complete with the entire park redecorated for the convention and running organized shows in the stunt areas, much like they do in October for the Old Tucson-run “Nightfall” event. This concerned me at first, worrying for the unsuspecting folks who had *no* idea this was a specialized weekend for the attraction. Later, I noticed tourists being turned away from attractions and exhibits that were normally open to the public because WWWC has organized a panel or a workshop in the space. Although there was little I could do, I was slightly relieved in overhearing other convention attendees and staff voice the same concern.
Overall, the experience was a pleasant one: over the course of the weekend, I took in a steampunk fashion show, a costume contest, perused the vendors, and took part in a hive-mind, character-creation panel hosted by 2 of the crew of Airship Isabella. I normally suggest this for most cons, but since this one is spread out a bit, I’ve also included my tips for the experience:
1) Grab a program.
Heck, grab *two*. They will get lost and they WILL come in handy. There are times when you’ll have a short amount of time to get to an important thing you want to see (it’s easy to wander away from your desired area)
2) Dress for the occasion
It’s greatly encouraged if you want to cosplay, but if you’re not part of a cosplay group, the Arizona sun will quickly make you re-think your decision of getting dressed up in leather and/or Victorian corsets/bustiers.
3) Bring water and, if you can swing it, something to munch on.
Even during the cooled month of March, Tucson can get a bit warm. The bottles of water I saw were about $2.50. The food, however, can make a bigger dent in your wallet. If they don’t get confiscated, bringing in granola bars and beef jerky will help you stave off hunger.
The convention was extremely fun and I look forward to making some not-so-last-minute plans to return next year!
Thanks for reading,