LeakyCon, the annual gathering of fans of fantasy fiction and films, is coming to Orlando this summer, bringing literary rock star John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) as well as all manner of literate geekdom, plus a special look at the new Harry Potter-themed expansion at Universal Studios Orlando.
Expect hotel rooms to disappear as the magic of fan fervor takes over the Orange County Convention Center July 31-Aug. 3. Organizers are expecting more than 5,000 fans to fork over $125-$175 for five days of nerdy fun. The $275 "Rock Star" package that includes prime seating for all the literary panels and celebrity meetups is already sold out, said Steve Honig, LeakyCon spokesman.
This will be Green's fourth LeakyCon appearance. He was at the first LeakyCon in Boston in 2009 when it was organized by Harry Potter fan site the Leaky Cauldron. Back then, he was already the author of many books beloved by teens and adults alike, but his most recent book, The Fault in Our Stars, has spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and has being turned into a film set to come out this summer.
Though the origin of the convention is a Harry Potter fan site, it has absorbed a much wider group of fans, mostly in their teens and early 20s. They show up (many in costume) to play games, hear panels such as "The Chosen Ones: Buffy and Harry Parallels" and take part in improv lessons and crafting tutorials. One year they had a Disney sing-a-long with a cast member of Glee.
"This is all about being a fan and celebrating being nerdy and geeky in a fun, positive environment," said Melissa Anelli, co-founder and director of LeakyCon.
This year's LeakyCon also will feature a special private event at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando. For a separate ticket, conventioneers will have a special night in Universal's Harry Potter-themed expansion, which opens in June. Details and prices for this event have not yet been released, but it will be available only to LeakyCon attendees, Honig said.
LeakyCon also offers a special literary track featuring popular authors for teens and young adults. The lineup includes Green, as well as Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Prom, Wintergirls); Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles); and Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park, Fangirl).
There will be numerous panels with the graphic designers responsible for the visual look of the Harry Potter films; Scarlett Byrne, who played Pansy Parkinson in three Harry Potter films; and YouTube stars like Jon Cozart, whose viral video hit After Ever After offers alternative endings to beloved Disney classics.
Attendees can choose between three types of tickets: $175 for general admission, which includes access to most of the convention events; $275 for general admission plus special literary track programming; and literary focus tickets for $125, with access to literary track programming only. Tickets are on sale at LeakyCon.com.