Pop-culture trivia takes up brain space that would otherwise be reserved for the 18th digit of pi and the memory of our own birth. Stock up on useful nostalgia with today’s Groupon: for $19, you get a weekend pass to FandomFest and Fright Night Film Fest, held July 22–24 at the Fern Valley Hotel & Conference Center. A weekend pass includes admission to the vendor hall, seminars, Q&As, films, and games for the entire weekend (a $45 value).
FandomFest and Fright Night Film Fest converge an impressive array of beloved horror, fantasy, and sci-fi celebrities alongside eclectic vendor booths and a first-rate film festival. The fest’s remarkable panoply of pop luminaries includes director John Carpenter, actors Henry Winkler and Margot Kidder, and artist Jason Craig, each on hand to sign headshots, artwork, and field-trip permission slips (usually $10–$30/autograph). Guests can nod approvingly to six melodious tunesmiths on Friday night before taking in a day’s worth of spine-chilling sci-fi, fantasy, and horror flicks from rising filmmakers on Saturday and Sunday. An eclectic range of vendor tables boasts an eye-fetching array of genre fare, and around-the-clock gaming keeps button-pressing fingers in tip-top shape. Saturday night’s Masquerade Ball includes a body-art fashion show and concert by Samantha Newark, as well as awards for best costume and worst attempt to start a line dance. An award ceremony and after-party close out the festival on Sunday night, celebrating the fest’s favorite filmmakers before honoring the cinematic chops of John Carpenter with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Fern Valley Hotel’s top-notch accommodations ably ensconce festivalites, and a slew of local restaurants ensures ravenous culture-cravers don’t resort to licking the ink from their fingers. Check the fests' full schedule online.