News — 31 May 2017
Out of the woodwork: Successful inaugural Joy Con shows the power of the niche hobbyist, raises $8,500 for charities

MC Andy McIsaac goes down the line and introduces all the costume contest participants. Photos by Michael Christianson

By Michael Christianson

On Saturday the first ever Joy Con geek convention was held at the Best Western Plus and if the inaugural year was any indication for success, it won’t be the last one Dryden has seen.

People from all walks of life came together to share in the celebration of the growing counter culture of video games, comic books, games and many other nice hobbies and interests.

By the end of the day over 500 visitors had attended the convention, which brought in $8500 that organizers are donating to charity. Half of the proceeds will go towards the Dryden Dream Believers while the other half is being donated to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Gamers competed in a variety of events featuring both modern and retro games.

Vendors for the event came from all over the region with a comic book collector from Sioux Lookout as well as hobby shops and artists from Thunder Bay. 

“It’s a room full of awesome people who love the stuff I love,” said organizer Andy McIsaac. “It’s interesting in a little town like this that we have this much support for this kind of stuff because, God bless our anglers and our hunters and our outdoors people because that’s what flies in this region because we have such a wealth of those resources. This day has proved that there are lots of people with other niche hobbies and that’s our goal to bring all our niche hobbies together for a day and have a party.”

Also in attendance were ThunderCon organizers Rob Kilgour and Heather Dixon who were reminded of their first time organizing the convention in Thunder Bay. Like McIsaac they had more people show up their first year than they expected.

Browsing the wares – A full house inside the conference room featuring tables full of loot.

“I feel so good for Dryden, for this group that has done JoyCon,” said Kilgour. “Our hope is to link all those cons across the north, the guys in Graphic Con in Sudbury, so we can all have a northern Ontario family of cons, we’ve already started chatting because a lot of the people in the north they share something special and the artistry and the crafts people that come to these cons are unbelievable that you don’t see at the big cons.” 

Video games were a hit at the convention with a smaller dedicated retro gaming room open to all who came. Video game competitions were held as well as a costume contest to make the first ever Joy Con a day to remember.

McIsaac says the idea for this convention began in January and he is already hinting at Joy Con returning next year. Joy Con is looking for volunteers for next year as well as feedback on this year’s event. 


Kids painting figurines.

Cosplay contestants compete for glory.


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About Author

Chris Marchand is a native of Dryden, Ontario. He served his first newspaper internship at The Dryden Observer in 1998 while attending journalism studies at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops B.C. He's worked desks as both reporter and editor at the Fernie Free Press as well as filled the role of sports editor at the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. Marchand was named editor of the Dryden Observer in Aug. 2009.

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