Earlier today, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas issued a state of emergency as a response to growing COVID-19 concerns. Among the preventative meaures he outlined and suggested for trying to stay ahead of the coronavirus, he ordered the cancellation or postponement of any public gatherings and events with projected attendance to be 1,000+ people. This had an immediate effect on the Big 12 college basketball tournament currently taking place at the Sprint Center in downtown KC.
Within my social media circle, people began wondering what impact this might have on Planet Comicon, our annual big blowout pop culture con scheuled to be held next weekend, March 20-22. It’s one of the largest such shows in the Midwest, and as it’s our “hometown con” Kevin and I were looking forward to attending as we always do.
Mayor Lucas’s declaration made the postponing of the con a foregone conclusion; it was just a matter of waiting to hear whether the promoters would attempt to reschedule the show for later in the year or cancel it altogether and plan for 2021. About an hour ago, the con put out their official statement about the show’s status.
It is indeed postponed, and the promoters are working to secure alternate dates for the con later this summer or fall. Included in the statement is information about crediting admission purchases to the later show, or even the 2021 con, as well as the refunding of tickets for celebrity photo ops. I suspect these are but the first steps the con will be taking to make sure customers are taken care of while they work out all of the logistics and details involved with essentially undoing everything they’ve done to prepare for hosting a show that’s not gonna happen; at least, not for a while. Please give them time and room to sort through it all. I have full confidence they’ll do right by people to the best of their ability.
For me, this means I won’t get to catch up with friends I only see at this con. This includes fellow authors and other creators who journey here from other parts of the country. It means not putting faces to names for people I’ve met on social media and who were planning to attend the show. It means not being able to get my geek on with my daughters, both of whom were looking forward to attending the show. Guess we’ll have to fend for ourselves that weekend. And yes, I’ve been prepping for the con with a big box full of my brand-spanking Star Trek: Kirk Fu book as well as Kirk Fu posters to give away and plenty of copies of various other titles.
HOWEVER: KC-area Star Trek fans may have a chance to catch up with Kevin and me sooner rather than later. Games are afoot. Stay tuned as details firm up!
As for the con itself, let me tell you something about these folks: Kevin and I have been attending this show since the very first one. In those days, we bought tickets at our local comic shops and attended like normal people. They started inviting us as guests perhaps ten years or so ago, and we’ve had a blast every time the show rolled around each spring. While we obviously understand why it’s being postponed, I still feel bad for everyone involved in bringing Planet Comicon to life. There are a lot of people who bust their asses to make it better and better every year, and they’re finally getting some of the national notice they deserve. I hope this is just a bump in the road for them and that we’ll see a con later in the year.