Cons are pretty thin on the ground in December, at least this year. The Steel City Con is a Toys and Collectibles kind of event, going on in Pittsburgh, Pa this weekend, and the CapIcons event is the same, in Tyson’s Corner, Va.

The only Con of importance this weekend is a kind of Meta-Con: the SMOF Con, or Secret Masters of Fandom Convention. They have to hold it when nothing else much is going on, because they run all the Cons that count, and would be too busy to show up when their Con was happening. So from December 4th to the 6th the majority of them will be in Austin, Texas, and syncing with this years theme: Time Management! Even people with time machines need to keep it under control, after all. My favorite Gimme from this cons collection: the SMOF Austin Restaurant Guide, which even non-SF folks will find very useful when they visit the best little town in Texas.

If you haven’t been to a collectibles event before, they are different from most other cons in that they are pretty much all dealer room. The one thing that makes them worth attending (unless you are a collector, of course, and if you are you already know this stuff) are the Celebrity Guests. You actually get to talk with them one-on-one while you pay your money for an autographed photo, or to get a picture taken with them. I have passed up a lot of photo opportunities over the years that I regret now, but count myself lucky for the questions I have had answered from folks like James Doohan (Trek) and Candy Clark (Man Who Fell To Earth), amongst many others.

Celebrity Guests at the Steel City Con include Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Luciana Carro (BSG).

CapIcons doesn’t seem to have any guests (at least that I could find), so from my perspective, what’s the point? Collectors will still be there, of course.