Stalowolskie Spotkania z Fantastyką – Trying Something New

Every now and then I like to try some new convention. Yet in recent years it rarely happens for me to experience some completely unfamiliar con in Poland. This is not because there are no such events. The reason is I have so many “known” ones I want to attend that I don’t have enough time to sail on stranger tides. Yet sometimes it happens.


The weekend was packed with conventions. There was Bazyliszek in Warsaw (I visited it last year) and Rawikon (new convention) in Rawicz. Yet I chose the third one – Stalowolskie Spotkania z Fantastystką in Stalowa Wola. The name can be translated as SFF Meettup in Stalowa Wola. Most of my friends went to Warsaw. It was a safe choice for me. I knew the team who run it and I generally like their conventions. On a social aspect I was sure it would be a blast. Yet I decided to try something new and went to Stalowa Wola. One friend of mine went there too but almost everyone else I have seen for the first time.

A busy corridor. To the left there are peopel sitting around the tables. To the right there are some people walking by.
Main corrdior during second day of Stalowolskie Spotkania z Fantastyką.

The bad thing was that now I am more in my “shy mood” and meeting new people was difficult and stressful. I would love to write that I came back after exchanging contacts with many people but the truth is this is not the case. I met some people and I expect we may talk in the future but socially I felt rather awkward.

Sharing my Love of Fandom

One of the reasons why I chose this con was to offer them some programme items about fandom. I thought that they may be more “needed” in a little town that has not so many connections to fandom elsewhere than in Warsaw. I offered three items and I had them all scheduled on Saturday. The first one was a short presentation for those who were attending a convention for the first time. It covered basic aspects of what is fandom, how to enjoy the con, what are the main rules of con etiquette and so on. Later I talked about travelling to conventions abroad and whether it is worth doing. My last presentation was supposed to be about Worldcon in general and Glasgow 2024 in particular but it was scheduled late and no one came.

Man dressed in a wooden armor sits on a stump. Next to him there is a round, blue shield.
Some of the programme items were held outside.

Apart from giving talks I also participated in some programme items. On Friday I managed to listen to a presentation on Norse mythology. The presenter was dressed in a Viking costume. I missed the beginning of the talk (my train was a bit late) but I think he was from some historical reenactment group. On Saturday I started with a presentation on Slavic myths and folklore. Here the presenter was a better showman although he didn’t have the nice costume. Later during the day I listened to the presentation about mysteries of Antarctica which I kinda enjoyed.

The programme on Sunday didn’t have any talks I wanted to attend so I decided to go and see (or participate) some competitions. The Pub Quiz was clashing with the bottle cup racing so I had only 30 minutes to listen to it. I am glad I didn’t apply for it as the questions were way too difficult for me. The bottle cap racing was pretty fun although also frustrating. I think it was the first time in over decade (or even in two decades?) when I played it. And I should say that I never was good at such games. Still the route for the race prepared well and I enjoyed the nerdy stuff there. The next item that brought much joy to everyone was bingo. I didn’t expect it to be such a great programme item for a convention. There were two person leading it and one of them was a great showman. He made it a memorable experience. The set of awards was specific. There were some pretty interesting items and some not so great. Yet I think the latter brought more joy to the winners ;).

Man in black t-shirt stands in a classroom and smiles.
Presentation about the mysteries of Antarctica.


Stalowolskie Spotkania z Fantastyką were rather small event (although there were more people than I anticipated!). They were held in school and were directed to local fans. Compared to many other cons I attended they had smaller programme and no “big stars” as guests. On the social end they seemed pretty nice but because of being too shy I didn’t enjoy it to a level I could. Yet at least I got some cool conversations.

Picture shows a route drawn with chalk on the pavement. There are a four people standing, and two coruching next to it.
Bottle cap racing.

What I understood after the con was how much positive energy it gave me. On a few occasions during the following week I realized that it kept giving me motivation and evoking some good old memories and feelings. I certainly don’t regret attending it and now I have an appetite to try some small, local cons I don’t yet know.

You can find more pictures in my FB gallery.

The next post should appear in the beginning of August.

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