Vulkon

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You may be looking for the 1970s convention called Vul-Con.

Convention
Name: Vulkon
Dates: 1984-2007 (1984 and 1985 as "Trekon," then 1987 as "Vulkon")
Frequency: many a year
Location: first one in Orlando, FL
Type: fan con/professional con with celebrity guests
Focus: Star Trek and other science fiction shows
Organization:
Founder: Joe Motes and Ruthanne Devlin
Founding Date: June 1984
URL:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Vulkon was a Star Trek convention started in June 1984 by Joe Motes and Ruthanne Devlin under the name "Trekon".

As "Vulkon," it organized five to ten conventions a year as well as themed cruises.

Between 1987 and 2007, there were twelve Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire Slayer cruises under the names "Trekruise," "Seatrek," and "Slayercruise."

Some fans were still referring to "Vulkons" as "Trekons" as late as 1993. [1]

Vulkon historically attracted around 1000 to 3000 visitors.

Vulkon conventions programming included cosplay, dances, panels, workshops, game shows, banquets, karaoke, video games, artist alley, a dealers room and, in October 2008, hosted an actual wedding done in traditional Klingon fashion.

More information is here at Wikipedia.

1984

1985

a badge from 1985
  • the main Guest of Honor was Walter Koenig
  • August 24-25 in Miami at the Holiday Inn Biscayne

1986

It appears there was no con this year.

1987

changed its name to Vulkon

1988

1988: Con Reports

Vulcon [sic] I -- Tampa -- OR, HOW NOT TO RUN A CONVENTION, reviewed by Sue Keenan.

This convention report will be in two parts. First, the convention, and the second: De's appearance. [2]

Being a long time convention attendee, often a con worker, and occasionally in on the organization and planning of such events, I'm very familiar with how conventions should be done...and how they shouldn't. Without a doubt Vulcon I was the worse planned and executed con I've ever been to. Let me count the ways.

Advance publicity should always be accurate. Preferably the flyers go out after the guest star(s) have signed a contract to appear, and all details are settled. If that's not possible, a notation of "pending confirmation" or "to be announced" should be added. The first flyer on this con advertised both De and Mark Lenard as guests for a two day convention in Tampa at the Sheraton hotel. It turned out to be just De for a one day con (he was in Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday} at the Holiday Inn. (At least they spelled Kelley right.) The second flyer, which came out only weeks before the con, was more accurate, but it advertised that De would appear at 11am and that there would be drawings for autographed photos of De every hour during the day. Now 11am in Tampa is 8am in California and that should have been taken into consideration when setting up the programing, or deleted from the flyer entirely. (De actually appeared at 2.30pm) As for the hourly door prize drawing, De was presented with a large stack of photos to autograph when he arrived at his hotel in Tampa on Friday night (about 6pm). And he was supposed to have them signed by 9am Monday? They should have been mailed to him a few weeks before the con so he could do it a few at a time at his leisure. That's as bad as an autograph session. Making drastic changes after the first flyers have gone out is unforgivable. What about those people who bought non-refundable super-savers for a two day con? Or came specifically to see Mark Lenard? Or drove a long way for Sunday only? (I saw such a group when I checked out of the hotel on Sunday. They were not happy.) I even got caught in that trap. By the time I found out about the switch to Ft. Lauderdale on Sunday, I already had my ticket round-trip to Tampa, and had made plans with friends for Saturday night. Neither of which could be changed.

Now, let me address the treatment of guest stars. First you make sure that everything is arranged IN DETAIL. Their rooms should be viewed and arranged in advance and inspected just before the guest is picked up at the airport. That's just basic courtesy. Some of these people have to travel a long distance and they'll be tired. When De arrived in Tampa he was taken to a hotel that was beautiful, but had no meal service...not even a restaurant. A change was quickly made, but even that hotel had a few minor problems. As it turned out what should have taken 20 mins. took over an hour. Not a good first impression. Then there's the speaker's room. This one was okay, but too small. It had seating for about 450 but the attendance was 7-800. As a result the overflow crowded in the back, along the walls, in the aisles and (shudder) in that free space between the front row and the 18" stage that De was to appear on. Toni Hardeman and a few others set to work getting those people to move back from the stage because convention security (if there was any) wasn't doing anything about it. Then, after De's talk, there was a rush of people to the stage. I just hope De was out of the room by then. The whole thing, was totally unorganized and unsecured, not to mention that If a fire marshall had walked into the room the aisles would have been cleared or the convention shut down. There are laws to be taken into Consideration.

There are an assortment of other things, too. Besides the speakers room, there was only two tiny dealers rooms and that's it. No art room, no films or video, however they did have some guest comic artists who were set up in the hall. Security was the worse I've seen. There were no badges, name tags or T-shirts to identify people working with the convention so you never knew who to ask for information. And the security guard checking hand stamps into the speakers room disappeared when De was on stage. Many people not registered with the con had easy access to the rooms. The costume contest was totally disorganized and took forever to set up, but the costumes were exceptional and each contestant received a certificate signed by De (a nice touch).

Now on to the fun part of this event: De's appearance. De popped onto the stage to a thunderous ovation. When the applause finally died down he took the mic... and it didn't work. Then he tried the other one — feed back. Then came a few minutes of feed back and testing (a lot of which De had to do himself.) When the problem was finally resolved, De looked a bit up-tight and started to look for familiar faces. Pat Neal? Right down front. And where was his club president? He finally found me in the crowd. Then he wanted shy little ol1 me to introduce myself. I finally did. Well, "get even" is my motto. So while he was talking about me, I grabbed his birthday present and hopped up on stage. I announced to the gathering that Wednesday was De's birthday, which brought a spontaneous round of "Happy Birthday to you." Since we were in the birthday mode, Joe Motes took that opportunity to present two cakes to De. One was a sheet cake from the con. The other was from the DKFC which read "Happy 138th Birthday." I also gave him the club gift, but he didn't open it until later. I probably messed up Joe's plans for De's birthday surprise, but at that point I didn't care.

After the hoopla was over, De went on to tell about some of the funny things that happened when he was making westerns, then went on to read The Big Bird's Dream. Being a bit claustrophobic, I changed positions to the door. (Compact crowds make ME up-tight.) Most of the group had never heard De's poem and they really loved it. Then it was time for him to field questions. "What's your favorite and least favorite episode?" "'City on the Edge of Forever' and 'What Little Girls are Made Of, I wasn't in it." Nothing unusual was asked, but no matter how old or common the question, De's answers were fresh and bright. By the end of the hour he'd won everyone's heart...as usual. Even being a bit nervous, he's still a fantastic speaker who's warmth will infect everyone.

I know it sounds like I hated everything about this con except for De's appearance, and that's not true. Actually, I had a wonderful time. It started when I checked' into the L.A. airport and ran smack dab into De and Carolyn. We ended up on the same flights to Dallas and Tampa. Not bad for starters, eh? That made the trip to Tampa very enjoyable, and once I got to the hotel, it was like a family reunion. Sherry Veltkamp, my roommate, and a group of friends from Gainsville were waiting in the bar when I checked in. Then it was up to the room where Vel Jaeger and her friends came by. Pat Neal then arrived with her group. By 10pm our room was SRO and we were having a ball. The whole weekend was like that. Meeting old friends, making new ones. It was one long continuous party which wound up with dinner on Saturday night at Bern's Steak House. Whatever I could say about Bern's would be an understatement. Suffice it to say that it has one of the largest wine cellars in the world and we spent 5 hours there having an absolutely fantastic meal in the best of company.

But as enjoyable as the weekend was for me, it was fun generated by friendship, not the convention. I, for one, will not be attending any future events put on by Joe Motes. I like efficiency and organization in the events I attend. This one had neither. [3]

1990

1990: Con Reports

It was April 9th and, with a typical last minute decision, I decided to go to Orlando, Florida for the April 14th VULKON Star Trek Convention, featuring an appearance by Gates McFadden. Luckily, I was able to get reservations on Eastern airlines. The idea of driving to Florida and back in only three days intimidated even a gung-ho long distance driver like me. With an in-auspicious start, I missed my 6:30 A.M. flight Friday morning, by forgetting to pick up my uniform from the dry-cleaners on Thursday. Eastern was very nice however, and allowed me to travel standby to Atlanta and then to Orlando. I arrived shortly after noon Friday, promptly rented a car, and drove to Cape Kennedy to see the Space Shuttle (with Hubble Space Telescope) waiting on the launch pad. The Shuttle did not launch until the next week, but I did witness a Delta rocket launch at 6 P.M. that afternoon. I then drove back to north Orlando and checked into the Altamonte Springs Hilton Hotel - the convention site. The buffet dinner at the hotel was excellent. I met a lot of nice Trekkers at the bar and we alI registered for the Con late Friday night ($25 for both days). The hotel has a disco, but I did not pass the dress code (sorry no hats). So I got a good night's sleep in preparation for some heavy Trekkin' the next day. I missed Ann Crispin's three hour writer's workshop at 9 A.M., but I was there when the Con doors opened at 10. I was not disappointed. Although not as large as the Magnum Opus Con In Greenville, S.C., VULKON is a Trekker's Con. The Star Trek theme predominates, due to the dedication of the Con promoters - the same good people that bring us Sea-Trek. I started out touring the two large dealer's rooms. I entered secure in the knowledge that, having already attended three Cons this year, there couldn't possibly be anything in these dealer's rooms to tempt me. WRONG! The first table that I encountered was an autograph dealer. This guy had hundreds of celebrity autographs, including those of the entire ST cast. I tried to make a quick escape - really. But he had Shatner and Kelly and Nimoy... STARFLEET has a very elaborate table with a U.S. map showing all chapters. The Second Fleet in Florida seems very well organized. They sponsored an inter-ship competition where each ship's department presented projects for competitive judging. The presentation and judging were followed with an awards banquet.

I caught the last part of Richard Arnold's slide presentation, the part about upcoming Next Generation episodes. His insider's narrative is fascinating. I brought back the schedule of this season's episodes. I also found our new member Pat Heinske, who had driven overnight to Orlando alone from Raleigh. We checked in with each other periodically throughout the Con. Rick Gonzales and company were there with a demo of professional make-up artistry. They made-up a volunteer as a Vulcan as the crowd watched. They displayed a number of head appliances and masks, and explained their manufacture.

Trek writer Ann Crispen's presentation was at 2:30. She is a very pleasant person, and patiently explains all aspects of her writing. She read from her upcoming Next Generation novel (#13) 'The Eyes of the Beholders'. One section dealt with Data's attempt to write a love story. It was hilarious. I got to talk with her later in the autograph line, where she autographed my copies of 'Yesterday's Son' and 'Time for Yesterday'. Before Gates McFadden came on, the Con promoters spoke. They polled the crowd about what guest stars they would like to see, and how much they would pay to see them. As I mentioned, they also run the Sea-Trek ocean cruise, which was May 15th this year. The Sea-Trek registration table continuously played the video tape of the '89 cruise. About 80% of all of the ST cast (new and old) participate in Sea-Trek. Only the biggest stars like Shatner, Nimoy and Stewart have not participated. Reservations start at $675 for five days with our ST stars. Some day...

Then the big event - Gates! Gates McFadden made a grand entrance and promptly announced that, yes, her long red hair was a wig. Then she promptly launched into the question and answer session. She was prone to make outrageous comments that kept the audience enraptured for the entire hour. She mentioned her dancing career and her latest movie 'The Hunt for Red October'. She said that she would like to see the inside of Dr. Crusher's shipboard quarters sometime. She speculated that there would be about ten wig manikins there, and perhaps some men. She also jokingly suggested that the writers might explore the "darker side of Beverly". A fan presented her with a bouquet of yellow roses. As she talked, I frantically shot pictures of her beautiful profile.

After her speech, she did a gruelingly long autograph session that lasted for several hours. I'd bet that she signed eight hundred autographs. At the end, you could tell that her smiling muscles were strained to the max. I continued shooting photos until I ran out of film. At 8:30 I reported for costume At 8:30 I reported for costume technical call, since I had registered earlier for the evening Masquerade contest. We were assigned our order of appearance according to our costume theme. Mine was classic/movie Trek. At 9:30 the contest was delayed while they hunted up contest judge Richard Arnold. Twenty five of us posed for the audience and judges for the next hour. The judging was then concluded in fairly short order. The 'Best of Show' was an excellent Cleopatra. First prize in my division went to a 'cross generation' entry consisting of mother, daughter and grandmother (in wheelchair), all in Trek uniform. I came in second with my 'Monster Maroon' Starfleet officer's uniform (with hat).

At 10:30 the main parties began Starfleet had a large reception room off of the main hotel lobby, where they had a punch bowl and a large table set with delicious 'finger food'. The hotel bar stayed open till midnight, and the hotel disco graciously decided to allow those in costume to enter - even those with hats. But after being rejected Friday night, I decided not to darken their door. I retired after a very exciting but exhausting day.

Sunday I finished my shopping at the dealer's room. I did not get to stay for Gates' Sunday appearance, since I had a 3:00 plane to catch. I did give Pat my badge so that he could get the second autograph that I had promised J.R. My trip back to Raleigh was uneventful. I strongly recommend both VULKON and Sea-Trek to all members. My only regret is that I did not have time to enjoy

more Florida sunshine. [4]

1991

1991: Con Reports

Con report by a fan named Cynthia:
Prologue: "Vulkon" is a Florida-based convention organization that (in this fan's opinion) has a reputation for throwing well-orchestrated and enjoyable Trek conventions. On Friday, June 21st I packed my bags and car for the lonely two-hour drive to Orlando, Florida. I attended Vulkon's first Fantasy Fair solo (my usual con partner couldn't attend). While not strictly a Trek event, I thought a report might be of interest. The con was to include as guest star Colm Meaney (ST:TNG's transporter chief) but there was a last minute change due to Mr. Meaney's movie commitment (surprise - he's playing an Irishman). So, as replacement was Erik Menyuk (ST:TNG's The Traveler), who turned out to be delightful! Erik Menyuk is one genuinely funny guy. He is in fact, due in part to his convention appearances, considering a career change to that of stand-up comic. He should do well. I was laughing so hard that I had to sit with legs crossed in order not to embarass myself! If you ever have the chance, ask him about the "dueling bread sticks" - trust me. In addition to being funny, he is also a Trek fan himself; he had even attended a "classic" Trek convention in his youth, prior to becoming an actor. So he appeared to relate well to the fans, being one also (a fan, that is), and enjoyed us as well as we did him. Turnout for the convention was disappointingly small. I would have thought due to the infrequence of Trek events in the area that more Trek fans would have shown up for at least one day out of curiosity. They could have come to see Erik Menyuk, even if not to see Mark Goddard (Lost in Space), Tommy Kirk (The Shaggy Dog), Dick Durock (Swamp Thing), and Dave McDonell (Starlog Editor). However, due to the small turnout there were ample opportunities to mingJe (several new friendships were made) and converse with fellow fans. The "stars' were more accessible to fans and also seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themrelves in this more relaxed setting. They could be found in the dealers rooms, the pool, the parties, and the hotel bar. Activities in addition to the "stars" were: dealers rooms packed full of collectables; comic dealers' room full of same; video rooms; costume contest - complete with an 18-month old miniature Swamp Thing; and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, complete with local cast. Unplanned activities included an assortment of room parties (killer Saurian Brandy) and even a bachelorette excursion to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (yummy). All in all, I had a delightful time and would still recommend future Vulkon productions. [5]

1993

1993: Con Reports

On March 5 at 12:30 p.m., an away team consisting of Jeff Habrych, Robert Yates, Margaret Lamb, Cynthia Sokol, Larry Pischke, and myself lifted off from Raleigh in the newly commissioned shuttle Arger. Destination: Vulkon, Hunt Valley, Md. This was a somewhat smaller one than the ones we usually attend in Hunt Valley. However, all the essential ingredients were there. There was a costume contest, Ten Forward dance, dealer's room, all somewhat abbreviated from the usual, however. And the guest of honor was top-notch - Leonard Nimoy.

Our favorite alien had much to say about the making of ST IV, particularly special effects, which was fascinating. According to Mr. Nimoy, ST VII is definitely in the works, there will be extensive use of Next Gen cast, and he has not been contacted to participate, as yet. If ST VII is supposed to be an original cast movie, as most other rumors have speculated, then I find this turn of events highly illogical.

The other guest was Daniel Davis, a.k.a. Professor Moriarty. This was his first convention. He seemed to enjoy himself, and even helped out judging the costume contest. Well, on Sunday, long after the last of our credits had been spent, we gathered our crew together for the trek home. But, being the dedicated, serious crew that we are, we did not waste our time catching up on sleep. Instead, we popped a language tape into the tape deck and brushed up on our "Conversational Klingon". Yes, going to cons is not only fun, it's educational, too. (Can we get a tax deduction for this?) [6]

I had a nice New Year's weekend and part of my plans was to go to the TREKON convention January 2nd at the Clarion Hotel in San
 Fransisco. There was a Creation Con in Sacramento, but I wasn't able to get away so I decided to try a convention put on ray someone other than Creation. There have been many articles in Trek zines regarding Creation and how bad their shows are. There are claims people are treated like cattle, there are long lines, the prices are too high, etc. Although I disagree completely with the criticism of Creation conventions, I did look forward to seeing what another organization could do. I got to the Clarion Hotel on Saturday morning at 8:50 am. The convention started at 10:00 and I wanted to see how crowded it was. There were 30-40 people waiting, so I got in line. I waited until very close to 10:00 when the people in charge passed out a program for the day.

I looked at the program and decided I did not wish to pay $22.00 for two hours of Trivia Contests, two hours of auctions, and a 1/2 hour costume contest. Brent Spiner was the guest and I have been lucky enough to have seen him many times before (Santa Rosa, Los Angeles...). He was to be on at 4:00, but that was ail that was on the schedule as far as I was concerned. Not only that, but the convention was to begin at 10:00, yet there was nothing on the program until noon and there was a 45 minute "lunch break" starting at 2:15.

Now for those who complain about Creation conventions, was this convention any better? First of all, it was more money than Creation ever charged (their ticket prices are usually $17 or $19 for general seating) . Second, Creation's program is always j am packed with things to see--slide presentations of upcoming shows, slides of behind the scenes shots, employees who work on the show sharing their experiences, outstanding videos made by Creation, etc. They may have a short trivia contest as "filler" but not as the main activity of the day and not for two hours! When I read the program, I decided to save my $22.00 and leave. I think most of the people in line came to see Mr. Spiner and would have endured anything to see him. But since I have been attending Creation conventions since the early 70's, I know how much better a convention can be. I look forward to my next Creation convention (there is one in only a few weeks) and am glad I did not waste my time and money on the Trekon convention. [7]

2002: Orlando

March 22-24, 2002

A con report: Vulkon Orlando, Florida 2002, Archived version

A con report: Vulkon

2003: Tampa

A con report is here: Photos from Vulkon, Tampa, June, 2003, Archived version

References

  1. from a fan's con report in Data Entrie #20
  2. Keenan was the president of DeForest Kelley Fan Communique, an unofficial DeForest Kelley fan club.
  3. from The DeForest Dispatch #16
  4. from The Wright Stuff, newsletter for U.S.S. Kitty Hawk
  5. from TREKisM #68
  6. from The Wright Stuff
  7. from Data Entries #20