What would your ideal science fiction convention look like?

In mere days, tens of thousands of science fiction, fantasy, and comic book fans will take over San Diego for the San Diego Comic-Con. SDCC certainly has its positives — exclusive announcements, stars, con swag, and some event to fill every waking hour of the day. The show also has its detractors, thanks to its large size and the ever-growing bouillabaisse of media crowding the convention center.

Scifi conventions come in a variety of formats and flavors, from the musty hotel ballroom one-day show to the city consuming week long marathon. If you could create your ideal convention, what would it be?

What would your ideal science fiction convention look like?S

The Local Hotel Ballroom
Do you enjoy the smaller hotel ballroom conventions? These are often great chance to meet others in your community who enjoy the same hobbies you do. Smaller conventions usually feature a dealer room where you can spend your cash at leisure, and maybe a cult scifi or fantasy celebrity to boot. These often last a single day, decreasing the amount of money spent on travel and hotel expenses.

What would your ideal science fiction convention look like?S

The Regional Convention
Imagine the previous convention, but larger and stretched out over a long weekend. These conventions often feature decent opportunities to hear guest speakers at panels (maybe not your favorites, but it's better than nothing). Many regional conventions are adding late night events, including concerts or costume contests. The highlight of regional conventions is often the accompanying road trip — an adventure in cramming as many friends into a car and hotel room to minimize cost.

What would your ideal science fiction convention look like?S

The National Event
Worlds collide as movies, television, and fans devour a massive convention hall and nearby hotels in search of swag and seats at panels. Want to see an actor from your beloved science fiction show, or the author of your favorite series of novels? They will be both likely be there, along with just about every other actor or novelist promoting their upcoming work. These large conventions often drop you in the middle of an ocean of people and require significant cost, but they do place you at the center of the science fiction and fantasy world for the better part of a week.

Is there one type of convention setting you prefer, or is there a mash-up of the above that fits your ideal convention? If you are giving advice to a first time convention-goer, what would you tell them?

Top image from istolethetv/Flickr. Additional images from istolethetv/Flickr, Pop Culture Geek/Flickr, and LoneWalkerNYC/Flicker.