Conventions to Plan for in 2023
Happy 2023, it’s time for the Bay Area fandom community to start planning which conventions they want to attend. Chances are that you had a blast last year and are excited to make new memories. Or, it has been a long time since you attended one and you want to make the most of it in 2023. That is why we have created this guide to help you plan.
From major events like FanimeCon and Crunchyroll Expo to minor local cons, this is a quick guide to get you ready. Here are the major and minor fan conventions in the Bay Area (plus the surrounding areas) to plan for in 2023:
SacAnime Winter (January 6th to January 8th) The first convention of 2023 will be a gathering of some of the most iconic performers in games, anime, and other works of pop-culture. SacAnime Winter will be a three-day event at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center. This is one of the best events that let you start the new year with a bang.
Further Confusion (January 12th to January 16th) Also known as FurCon, this is one of the largest furry conventions. The event brings together the furry community and fandom for an insightful weekend. Guests could meet artists, participate in special events or learn how to improve upon their furry cosplay.
Berkeley Comic Show (January 15th) A one day event dedicated to fans of old-school comics. Several local vendors bring their merchandise to sell while fans gather looking for that special collectible.
Fresno Toy-Anime-Comic Con (January 15th) This event brings together local vendors along with cosplayers and families for a day of fun. Hosted at the American Legion Post Hall, there will be a variety of activities and exhibits to check out. They will also be hosting a cosplay contest.
LumaCon 2023 (January 28) This is a free event organized by the librarians of Petaluma. Hosted at the Petaluma Community Center, the event brings together local vendors and artists for a day of fun. At the same time, it works to encourage local youth to broaden their literary horizons through the medium of comics.
Vacaville Toy-Anime-Comic Con (January 29th) An event that brings together the community for a day of fun. Hosted at the Moose Lodge, there will be a variety of activities and exhibits to check out. Cosplayers are also invited to participate in the cosplay contest.
Anime Gaming Expo 2023 (February 4th to February 5th) A weekend event that celebrates video games and anime. Taking place at the Fresno Fairgrounds, this event brings iconic voice actors while also organizing eSport events and cosplay gatherings.
East Bay Con (February 5th) For anyone who wants to have a con experience but prefers something more low key then East Bay Con is the event to checkout. East Bay Con brings local vendors and artists along with icons of pop culture for one day of fun. It’s perfect for comic fans and pop-culture enthusiasts.
DunDraCon (February 17th to February 20th) This is an event that brings together tabletop gamers for a weekend of fun. The event will host over 170 games along with several panels and special events. There will also be vendors ready to sell you whatever you need or desire.
Mystical Minds Spring Gathering (February 18th to February 19th) This is a weekend dedicated to the works of witches, pagans, paranormal investigators, UFO experts, and spiritual seekers. Guest will get to meet leaders in these communities for the chance to learn more. The spring event will be hosted in San Jose.
StocktonCon Winter (February 25th to February 26th) A spinoff to StocktonCon, this one-day event brings the joys of the convention to the winter season. Fans could check out all the amazing vendors and artists or meet their favorite celebrities.
Capitola Comic-Con 2023 (March 4th to March 5th) Is a weekend pop-culture event hosted at the Capitola Mall. Local vendors showcase their inventory while a variety of iconic stars gather for a weekend to meet their fans.
Ani-Me Con (March 18th to March 19th) – This is one of the largest anime, video game, and fantasy fan conventions in the Central Valley. This event brings together fans along with local vendors, artists, and special guests for a weekend of fun.
CarrierCon 2023 (March 18th) The USS Hornet: Sea, Air and Space Museum will host a pop-culture convention. This one day event invites fans to have the ultimate con experience while also having the chance to explore the iconic aircraft carrier.
San Jose Super Toy & Comic Book Show (April 1st to April 2nd) Hosted at the Santa Clara Convention Center, this event invites collectors of vintage toys and classic comics for an eventful convention. Over 250 merchants and artists are present while other activities are available.
BABSCon (April 7th to April 9th) The Bay Area’s first and only My Little Pony convention returns for another year. The event brings together fans of the iconic franchise for a weekend of fun and fandom. There will be music and fans get to meet those who have been involved in the series.
Clockwork Alchemy (April 7th to April 9th) This is the ultimate weekend for fans of the steampunk genre. The event will take place at Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame and will feature several iconic authors and designers from the Steampunk community.
Costume-Con 39 (April 21st to April 24th) A traveling convention that focuses on the art of costumes and cosplay. Designers and experts are brought in to share their wisdom while guests could mingle with each other. The 2023 event will be hosted in San Jose at the Doubletree.
Powerhouse Comic Con (May 20th) Hosted by Colossus Girl Entertainment LLC, this is a one day pop-culture convention. The event brings together artists, industry icons, major cosplayers, and celebrities for a day of fun.
Memorial Day Weekend 2023
FanimeCon (May 26th to May 29th) One of the largest anime conventions in North America, FanimeCon is a must go for fans in the Bay Area. During the day it’s all about meeting special guests and checking out local vendors along with a series of special events. After dark, it’s a non-stop party with mature panels, non-stop gaming, and raves. It’s basically Burning Man for nerds.
KublaCon (May 26th to May 29th) One of the largest tabletop and RPG conventions returns for another weekend of adventure. Fans could learn about unique gameplay strategies or meet new friends and organize a game.
Early Summer 2023
Sinister Creature Con (June) A convention that celebrates the horror culture. This special event brings together fans along with artists, writers, and industry insiders to highlight the works of today along with those from the past.
OffKai Expo (June 16th to June 18th) is the Bay Areas first and largest VTuber convention. The event invites fans for a chance to meet some of the biggest VTubers. At the same time, there are games to enjoy along with a dealer’s hall and some musical shows.
Bay Con (June 30th to July 3rd) Is the longest running science fiction and fantasy fan convention in the Bay Area. The event brings together writers, artists, and enthusiasts for a weekend that explores ones imagination.
StocktonCon (July 8th to July 9th) The main StocktonCon and one of the largest fan conventions in the Central Valley. This celebration of pop culture is hosted at the Stockton Arena. Fans could check out all the amazing vendors and artists or meet their favorite celebrities.
Late Summer 2023
Kin-Yoobi Con (August) – This is one of the most popular local anime conventions in the East Bay. Fans are invited for a day of fun with the chance to participate in special events or check out the local vendors and artists.
Crunchyroll Expo (August 4th to August 6th) Organized and hosted by the largest digital distributor of anime. This weekend event brings together the fandom community and the anime industry. Guest are given an insight into the industry while major brands try to better reach out to their audience.
California Extreme (August 19th to August 20th) California Extreme is an annual showcase of classics along with modern arcade games and pinball machines. Gamers are invited to play these iconic machines or meet the pioneers who paved the way for modern gaming.
SiliCon with Adam Savage (August ) This event brings together the world of science and technology with pop culture. Steve Wozniak will once again bring together respected scientists along with icon performers and comic artists for a weekend of fun and insight.
MagWest (TBD) – This video game/music festival is the West Cost spin-off of MAGFest. The event brings together the most respected video game themed bands along with chip-tune musicians for a weekend of music. There will also be numerous game tournaments and indie game showcases.
Labor Day Weekend
SacAnime Summer (Labor Day Weekend) – This will be a gathering of some of the most iconic performers in gaming, anime, and other works of pop-culture. SacAnime Summer will be a three-day event at CalExpo that lets fans end their summer vacation with a major bang.
Pacificon Game Expo (Labor Day Weekend) – Pacificon Game Expo is one of the largest hobby gaming conventions in Northern California. Learn about the trends in tabletop gaming and unique gameplay strategies from respected experts. Or one could meet new friends and organize a game.
California Republic Comic Con (September) – This pop-culture convention is takes place at the Merced County Fairgrounds. The event brings together industry icons and the community for a day of fun.
Santa Clara City Library Comic Con (September or October) Hosted by the Central Park Branch of the Santa Clara City Library, this one day event welcomes everyone for a fun time. The event will feature panels and workshops from special guests, activities like tabletop gaming, along with movie screenings.
YumeConUSA (October ) This one day event brings fans together for an eventful weekend in Palo Alto. The event features a good number of local artists and vendors along with special guests.
Afro Comic Con (October) This event works to empower and shine a light on the contributions to geek culture by communities that have been historically disenfranchised. The event will feature special guests from the world of pop culture along with insightful panels.
Sinister Halloween Con (October) A spin-off of the convention that celebrates the horror culture. This special event brings together fans along with artists, writers, and industry insiders to highlight during the Season of Fear.
Day of the Devs (November) This is a one day celebration of the indie game community organized by Double Fine and iam8bit. Indie studios and devs from around the country come to showcase their work. This is a free event open to the public.
Anime Destiny (November) The official anime convention of Cal Animage Alpha, the anime club of the University of California Berkeley. The event brings together local artists, vendors, speakers, and fans for one day. The event will be take place at the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union building.
ConQuest Sac (Veterans Day Weekend) This is one of the longest running conventions of its kind in the Sacramento area. This is a weekend event dedicated to gaming and science fiction.
Fan Expo San Francisco (Thanksgiving Weekend) Fan Expo is a pop-culture fan convention and the SF event is its first one in the Bay Area. The event allows fans the chance to meet the talents behind their favorite work.
GobbleCon (Thanksgiving Weekend) After enjoying a nice meal with the family, those who want to get away from the Black Friday shopping could spend the weekend at GobbleCon. This tabletop fan convention invites guests to enjoy a game of Dungeons & Dragons, Warhammer, or other popular games. There are hundreds of games to play or one could check out the vendor’s hall.
Sac Gamers Expo (December) One of the last fan conventions of the year, this two-day event is a must for gamers. The event brings together gamers along with Twitch streams, retro game vendors, and industry legends.
What fan conventions in the Bay Area do you plan on attending in 2023 or was there one we missed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Note: This guide only takes fan convention into account, hence industry conventions like the Game Developers Conference or eSport tournaments like Genesis will not be listed here. Also, this is an incomplete list as other events will be announced later in 2023.
8Bit/Digi is an independent media outlet that provides an insight into the gamer community of the San Francisco Bay Area.