Almost a year ago, my wonderful mom surprised me with tickets to SeaCon (the Supernatural fan convention in Seattle). That was before I even knew they existed. Now I can officially say I’ve experienced my second SPN convention and loved it just as much as the first one. They don’t get boring or stale, they stay fun—I mean, the trickster and god run the thing, how could it be anything less than incredible!? This year I took my brother along with me, and we had a blast fueled by the affable, funny guests, the sweet fans, the wonderful music, the exciting photo ops, and the plethora of fandom merch. This article will hopefully sum up JaxCon and convince you to go to a SPN convention if you have yet to attend one.
Every guest actor is as kind as can be. They are supportive of one another—like when they hug onstage before leaving and cheer each other on—and of the fandom, recognizing the immense power the fans have to make a difference. (Example: the Saturday Night Show live-stream, which I’ll get into later.) Misha’s excitement when he found out Louden Swain had been in the top 10 on the ITunes rock charts was genuine and contagious, anyone who witnessed his reaction knows that to be the case. Mark S offered advice and comfort to fans with anxiety. Misha discussed his own charity organization, Random Acts, that helped build a free high school in Nicaragua. Jared continues to make a positive difference with his AKF campaign. The list goes on, and on. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that they all preach love, and I’ve got to say, I love it.
They are nice and they are funny. So what are some of the humorous things we learned about our guests at JaxCon?
Jim Beaver has soft lips according to our beloved King of Hell, and was given two brass owls from set by Jared upon his departure (though he wishes he could’ve taken Sheriff Jody Mills instead).
The fated kiss, also known as the most romantic day of Jim's life
Mark Sheppard accidentally choked out a pro-boxer back in the day and would send Misha to Hell. Death (Julian Richings) actually happens to be an energetic, dancing ray of sunshine with a proclivity for concussing himself, eliciting a resounding ‘awwww…’ from the crowd (and he loves pepperoni pizza).
He did indeed take a photo in front of Chicago Pizza!
Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles would have the wrestler names Moose Noose and Flying Squirrel. Jared also makes the funniest noise when he’s trying to hold in laughter and Jensen looks like a stranger when he swishes his hair to the wrong side of his head.
Misha Collins has elves living in his walls and can thank Jared for introducing one of his kids to sugar.
Gabe Tigerman now knows not to trust signs claiming that their site has the world's largest groundhog and to avoid reading explicit fan-fiction in front of his mother. Mark Pellegrino loves torturing Sam (as Lucifer of course) which is fitting since “snapping necks and cashing checks” is his favorite line.
Rob Benedict's life song points out his short height and Matt Cohen LOVES being called “young John slash Michael.” Richard Speight Jr. tells a knee-slapping dad joke about meringues and Jason Manns has a hipster apple watch. Alaina Huffman will stump you to death and, like Gabe, has been party to some unique fanfiction.
Most importantly, we learned from J2 of the “Supernatural panty pack.”
(That was basically like one giant inside joke for all of those who attended JaxCon, so if you are confused, you are probably not alone. If you went to the con, you're welcome.)
All kidding aside, the guests were articulate, intelligent, hilarious, and had fantastic panels.
Not only were the actors sweeter than Dean’s favorite pie, the fans were too. I was squished in the elevator with fellow convention-goers when someone asked if there was still room to get on. A woman said yes because “we’re all family here.” How cute is that!? Leaving a convention without making new friends or at least without having had at least a couple of conversations with other great fans is impossible. EVERYONE IS SO NICE! It is insane! And the crowd is so diverse! People of all ages, races, genders, etc. come together to celebrate their favorite show.
I asked dozens of fans to give me a one sentence highlight of JaxCon, and this is what they said:
"It was so inspiring to be around so many wonderfully creative people who are doing what they love while making the world a better place. Oh and I got to hug Dean Winchester TWICE!" -- Alyssa (Lakeland, FL)
"Jensen Ackles looking into my eyes!" -- Jannie (Land O Lakes, FL)
"As always, I love meeting new friends who are part of the SPN Family. If I have to pick one, it would be my meet and greet with Rich and the fact that because of that, he remembered me all weekend!" -- DeAnn (Broken Arrow, Oklahoma)
"GABRIEL TIGERMAN'S PANEL" (Davenport,FL)
"Misha Collins closing his eyes and making a wish with me." -- Michele (Waldo, Florida)
"Misha was hysterical! I had an awful photo with him; he looked like a supermodel, while I looked as though I was photoshopped next to him. I told him it was my last shot and he grabbed me by the hand, twirled me around, wrapped his arms around me before twirling me on my way! I wasn't even sure I had smiled; I was literally thrown for a loop! Photo turned out fantastic!" -- Brandon (Florida)
"How nice Misha was in the Castiel op; I asked for a dip and he dipped me, spun me, and twirled me. It truly was unforgettable, one reason why I love him." -- Cassie (FL)
"No better place to be during a thunderstorm and tornado warning than with the safest people on the planet, the supernatural family." -- Taylor (Jax, Florida)
"It was so inspiring to be around so many wonderfully creative people who are doing what they love while making the world a better place. Oh and I got to hug Dean Winchester TWICE!" (Lakeland, FL)
"Getting to spend an entire weekend with my #SPNFamily squeeing about the stars and show we all love so much." -- Diane (St Pete, FL)
"A peaceful protest (the women's march) and a SPN con on the same day, sometimes everything lines up perfectly." -- Kat (Jax, Florida)
"Going to a con where I knew exactly 3 people there and making so many new amazing friends and getting hugs from Jared and Jensen again!! Although meeting Jason, Rob, Stephen, Rich and Julian Thursday night was amazing too!!" -- Lora (Minneapolis MN)
"Having a chance to meet "the boys," Jim Beaver, and some amazing con-goers gave us memories we will cherish for a lifetime."
"Taking 17 photo ops in a row with Misha and having him laugh about it."
"Getting to meet and speak to Jim Beaver about how much he means to me!" -- Kim (Jefferson City, MO)
"When Jared complimented my Ruby cosplay that I spent months working on to get right."
"Doing a kings of con inspired R2M photo and getting an applause from R2M for our WWBKD shirts!" -- Amanda (Calgary, Canada)
"Julian Richings was amazing and cool to have a meet and greet with."
"Realizing how funny Gabriel Tigerman is and him being a total sweetheart to me when I was getting his autograph." -- Melanie (Jax, FL)
"Being photo bombed by Misha." -- Tracy (Ocala, FL)
"Jared at his autograph table when he took my dvd cover and starts reading the back and saying I love u too." -- Alison (New port richey, FL)
"My Profile Picture. Speaks a thousand words." -- Sam
"Jared called me sweetie after mine and Cara's photo and being on stage for karaoke."
"Seeing the joy in the cast's faces when the spn fans raised a lot of money for Random Acts. It was a special event to be a part of."
"My meet and greet with Matt, Rich, and Rob. What an experience! -- Stephannie (Jacksonville, FL)
"Realizing that I might just be me, but for the boys, that's good enough." -- Stephany (Cocoa, Fl)
"Experiencing the love, trust, and kindness that the SPN family has to share and how committed we are to making things better." -- Jesse (Ohio)
"Me making Jared promise to keep fighting and knowing he and I will keep it." (Miami, FL)
"It was great to hear from the actors and get a glimpse into their real personalities, and meeting other SPN Family made it awesome!"
"Speaking with some of the actors from my favorite show, and realizing what kind, genuine, and down to earth people they are." -- Lindsay (Tampa, FL)
The Photo Ops
They are fleeting, but they are awesome. Once any SPN convention is over, the post-con blues hit hard, so it's always a joy to reminisce by looking back at your photo ops. Some people don't get it. They think it's pointless to take a two second photo with someone you watch on TV. I am one of the people who finds it cool because of that fact. You watch them on TV each week, you love the characters they bring to life, so why wouldn't you want a photo with them to show off? I got Misha to wear a flower crown (he said, "thank you for allowing me to" when I thanked him for agreeing to wear it ha-ha), got a big hug from my favorite hunters and their angel brother, and got to get a picture with the lovely Jim Beaver (Bobby).
The music is always phenomenal because of Louden Swain's crazy talent and now, for this con, Jason Manns, who has the mellifluous voice of an angel. During Jason's panel, he sang "Tennessee Whiskey" per a fan's request, as well as "Dock of the Bay" (a fan actually got to sing a little bit of that with him). Another major treat was Rob and Jason singing a chilling, emotional duet of "Hallelujah."
The Special Saturday Night Show
The Saturday Night Show of the convention weekend is always amazing, and JaxCon was no exception. This year, however, the whole thing was live-streamed, the proceeds for the free high school in Nicaragua raised by viewers both across the interweb and in the room amounted to over 60,000 dollars—in just two hours! The power of people coming together is boundless!
Favorite song of the evening? "Fare Thee Well" sung by Rob, because it's from one of my favorite episodes of the season eleven. Other favorite song, since I can't help but pick two (though I have about a billion)? "Medicated," the song in which everyone played kazoos, even the actors (Jim, Mark P, Misha, Rich), Louden Swain, and Jason. It was a special night.
Friday Night Karaoke
Fandom Funhouse is the theme for 2017's karaoke nights, which inspired Alaina to take on the role of a bearded lady, Matt to be the strong man, and Rich to be the ringmaster. It's goofy, and goofy is makes for a great time!
I still shied away from signing up to sing onstage for karaoke, but that didn't in any way detract from the fun that was had. The fans that were brave enough rocked it! And when "Hooked on a Feeling" came on, my brother and I belted it out from the dense, hyped crowd of fans, singing and dancing without a care in the world. Shout out to the cool guy who sang "Toxic" and to Julian Richings who sang "A Message to You, Rudy." I still can't get over the fact that he is the guy who plays death when he is so vivacious in person! Here's a crazy compilation of clips from karaoke:
The Vendor's Area
You want fandom stuff? Head to the vendor's area right outside the ballroom at each con. Posters, shirts, sweatpants, dresses, pillows, jewelry, and more are offered, and the vendors were all super nice...can you tell that that's a trend? I got a beautiful "the road so far..." bracelet and a tee shirt that said, "I didn't choose the fandom life, it gripped me tight and raised me from perdition." (That one made me laugh out loud. Even my brother found it amusing.)
You really can't get a full grasp on what SPN conventions are like until you experience it yourself. The energy. The excitement. The hilarity. The KINDNESS. It's unreal. It's almost...Supernatural.