What is Smofcon?

Smofcon is an annual conference for convention planners. At Smofcon, we gather to discuss many aspects of convention planning, at both the local level and at the Worldcon and other large conference level. We look for old friends, make new ones, attend panels on a variety of subjects about convention running, and express our views on best ways to do something. We often get recruited to work on other conventions — or recruit others to come work on our next convention.

Okay, we do a lot of talking with each other — we refer to it as “smoffing.” And smoffing requires good food and drink to keep us going!

The word “smof” was invented by writer and fan Jack Chalker for “Secret Master of Fandom,” fannish slang for convention planner. A convention doesn’t just spring up and succeed without a lot of preparation, talent and commitment. Regrettably, the knowledge that is gathered while running a convention is not always passed around to others, and as the saying goes “those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Smofs are the people behind the scenes at science fiction conventions. We are those faceless and sometimes nameless individuals, who have spent months, sometimes years, preparing for your arrival. We are the people who are behind the Registration desk handing you your membership badge, or take care of the guests, or are busy keeping the Anime festivals running on time, or organize the Masquerade show, or gather, edit and print the newsletters, or deal with the hotel on contract issues, or otherwise take care of the hundreds of other details that it takes to make a convention run.

Goals for Smofcon 40

  • Focus on running a Hybrid Convention
  • Sharing the Experiences and Best Practices of Hybrid Conventions
  • Learning from Local Conventions, Regional Conventions, and Worldcons
  • Implementing Hybrid Participation for Smofcon 40
  • Diversity and Inclusion including both attendees and panel members
  • Making People of Color, LGBTQIA+ and Young People feel welcome and included
  • Reaching out to a Diverse Local Fan Base (from Hard SF to Pop Culture)

MCFI, the sponsoring organization

Massachusetts Convention Fandom, Inc. (MCFI) was created in 1974 by the people who ran the first Noreascon. Its purpose was to bid for a Boston Worldcon in 1980, which became Noreascon Two (1980). MCFI later ran Noreascon Three (1989), and Noreascon Four (2004).

MCFI also ran Smofcon 3 (1986), Smofcon 15 in 1997, Smofcon 25 in 2007, Smofcon 35 in 2017, Ditto 11 in Newport, RI, November 6-8, 1998, and the 25th World Fantasy Convention in Providence, RI, November 4-7, 1999.

Most recently, MCFI hosted Costume-Con 37, March 22-25, 2019, at the Boston North Shore DoubleTree in Danvers, MA (just eight miles from Salem!) and Relaxacon 2021, October 15-17, 2021 & Relaxacon 2022, May 13-15, 2022 at the Corsair and Cross Rip Oceanfront Hotel in Dennisport, MA. Relaxacon 2023 will be October 13-15, 2023 at the Corsair and Cross Rip Oceanfront Hotel in Dennisport, MA.

MCFI also ran several Worldcon bids, including Boston for Orlando in 2001 and Boston in 2004.

MCFI is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit corporation.