We all have our varied interests, and in the last few years I have discovered that, no matter how obscure or unlikely, every interest seems to have a convention or gathering for enthusiasts. I attend a few knitting conventions, including the Stitches West and Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. And this week, I’ll be in Portland, Oregon, with hordes of other sock-knitting enthusiasts, attending the first-ever Sock Summit. (Rumors claim that it’s going to be the Woodstock of sock knitting!) It doesn’t really get more niche than sock knitting, I think. I’ve also attended a couple of science-fiction conventions, and I’m hoping to earn my badge as a geek once I finally attend my first Star Trek convention.
Not to make it sound like all convention-goers bear knitting needles and/or Spock ears. There are also golf conventions (like the Portland Golf Show), Steamcon (for steampunk enthusiasts), airsoft conventions, fly-fishing shows, and music festivals like Coachella. If you have an interest, you can bet there’s a convention for it, and better yet—other enthusiasts! (In the interest of spreading the word about all things niche-y, there are also podcasts on just about every topic you can think of.)
The best part of hobby-focused conventions, for me, is meeting like-minded people. Clearly, there is a bond of common interest between all in attendance that brings people together who may otherwise be very different. That makes for great conversations, and frequently, lasting friendships.
So what’s your niche? And what gatherings have you attended in pursuit of your hobbies?
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