Once a year I spend a weekend with friends from near and far, celebrating Doctor Who at Gallifrey One. After ten years or so of attending the con, though, it’s not about the panels and the guests, but about the friends who come for a weekend to celebrate the show as well as to see each other.
My first year at Gally (the convention’s nickname), I went with a friend to the hotel lobby after the con proper had ended for a day. It was great to meet some of my friend’s other friends and we chatted in the lobby with both the con-goers and the con-guests alike.
Since then, the con is still about Doctor Who, but I look forward to my friends more so than I look forward to the guests at this point. Friends, many of whom travel from England, happily spend three days (or longer) finding out about our lives in the past year (beyond what we followed via Facebook); and by the end of the weekend, there are more friends that I’ve met and more stories to share about a weekend that is just sci-fi fans being sci-fi fans.
Gally is a great con – the team behind the convection put on a great weekend with as many guests as they can get (and afford) – and that helps to create an atmosphere that leaves everyone smiling. The con-goers also make the con great – there is a tradition from Gally that I’ve seen adopted by other cons: ribbons.
Now, these ribbons are exactly what you might think – a short phrase on a piece of ribbon – but the way that ribbons are traded and collected is something else. This year my collection is rather small, but my friends have come away with collections taller than a house, held together by tape.
Gally is a family, and it’s a family I love, kooks and all, and one family I look forward to seeing every year.