Westercon 70 aka ConAlope is a science fiction, fantasy, science and pop culture convention that will take place over the 4th July weekend, from July 1st to 4th, 2017 at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel in Tempe, Arizona. The convention is spearheaded by the Chair, Dee Astell, and her Vice Chair, Hal C. F. Astell. Dee and Hal both have numerous years of experience working conventions and events throughout the state, both non-profit and for profit.
Westercon 70 officially won their bid during Westercon 68 in San Diego, California. Westercon 70 also represented at Westercon 69 in Portland, Oregon and hosted two very successful room parties.
Westercon 70 is sponsored by Leprecon Inc. and as such Westercon 70 will also be LepreCon 43.
We are officially branding our 2017 event ConAlope. As Westercon celebrates both sci-fi and fantasy, we decided to have a little fun with our theme this year and melded the two genres. We are commemorating the 70th anniversary not only of Westercon, but also of the crash landing of a UFO (or a military surveillance balloon) in Roswell, New Mexico on July 8th, 1947. We suggest that the stranded aliens wrangled a horde of frisky jackalopes and rode northwest to Tempe, Arizona. Those pesky aliens and jackalopes alike may well make an appearance at Westercon!
Westercon is a pop culture convention with a focus on science fiction and fantasy that travels around the area of the US and Canada west of the 104th meridian. It is selected like Worldcon with bidding, mail and at-con voting, and a two-year lead time.
Westercon was started in 1948 when Walter J. Dougherty of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) proposed that an annual West Coast convention be started for fans who couldn’t afford to travel to the East Coast, where most Worldcons were held. The first Westercon was held in September 1948 and was a one-day event attended by 77 people. The original full name was West Coast Scienti-Fantasy Conference. The name eventually shortened to the name we know it today, but many Westercons chose a particular ‘branding name’ for distinguishing purposes. It became a weekend-long convention in 1951 when it settled onto its 4th of July weekend date and started moving between cities.
It is a Westercon tradition that Guests of Honor are preferred from the region (west of the 104th meridian), having either been born or lived in the zone.
Westercon is owned by LASFS, but each year’s committee acts independently to run their particular event. The general organization maintains the bylaws and hosts an official business meeting (open to all attending members) at each Westercon.
Leprecon Inc. is a federal 501(c)(3) non-profit volunteer corporation that exists to promote the science fiction and fantasy genres with a specific emphasis on art.
Leprecon Inc. was incorporated in 1983 as a Arizona non-profit volunteer corporation. LepreCons 1 through 8 were sponsored by individuals; LepreCons 9 through present day were sponsored by the corporation. LepreCons 6 and 20 were cancelled due to hotel decisions and fan gatherings replaced them as more scaled back events (AlterCon I replaced LepreCon 6 and AlterCon II replaced LepreCon 20). LepreCon 35 was deliberately scaled back to be a fan gathering to relax after sponsoring two special events earlier that year (2009).
Leprecon Inc. also sponsors special events occasionally, such as the World Horror Convention and the World Fantasy Convention in 2004, Westercon 62 (FiestaCon) in 2009 and the first North American Discworld Convention in 2009. LepreCons are usually held in spring, although LepreCon 41 and 42 were held in early summer. Westercon 70 will also be Leprecon 43.