For many people in the Supernatural fandom, myself included, Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural conventions are some of the most anticipated weekends of the year. Even if you can’t physically go to the cons, the content that’s put online by other fans who are in attendance is like a treasure trove of squee. I always love to see other people’s stories of how their weekends are going, and Lynn’s (@FangasmSPN on Twitter) excellent live-coverage of the panels. This is why, whenever I’m lucky enough to attend a con, I also try to put out as much content online as I possibly can.
Two weeks ago, from June 8-10th, Creation held their final Supernatural convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I was able to go and cover it, which turned out to be very bittersweet. My first Supernatural convention was Pittsburgh in 2016. To see the cons make their last stop in Pittsburgh (at least for a while, who knows if they’ll return someday) was a little sad. But it was clear that everyone was hell bent on making the convention one of the best ever. We certainly went out with a bang in the ‘burgh.
The festivities kicked off Thursday night. At a typical Supernatural convention, there isn’t any programming on Thursday. But in the evening, you get to register your admission pass, browse the vendor’s room, and of course meet other fans. There is, however, one special ticketed event that up to 40 fans get to attend: Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster’s PJ Party. Even though I’ve been to my fair share of cons, I had never been to the PJ Party before, so I was extremely excited to see what the girls had in store for us. This one was special, though, because that Thursday also happened to be Kim’s birthday! Briana and I, along with my cousin Kailey and a group of other trusty PJ Party-goers, planned a surprise birthday party for Kim. We got there an hour early to decorate the room and set up the cake station. A special thanks goes out to Creation for helping us make that happen!
The PJ party itself was an absolute blast. We all played fun games (including Supernatural Cards Against Humanity), ate cake, had a talentless talent show, and watched Kim open some wonderful birthday presents. The whole thing lasted about two hours before the girls took selfies with all of us and said good night. After cleaning up the decorations, the PJ Party gang headed to registration and the vendor’s room. You can take a look at what Kim’s Wayward birthday party was like in my first vlog for the weekend.
Friday is always one of the best. It’s pretty mellow compared to Saturday and Sunday, but it’s nice to have a day that’s a little more laid back. For example, main stage programming on Friday normally doesn’t start until around noon (which means you get to sleep in). This Friday was a little more hectic for me as I was filming a lot of the photo op sessions for a video I’m working on with Creation. The experience of getting to watch many of the photo ops being taken throughout the weekend was incredible. I can understand now why Chris Schmelke (Creation’s talented photographer) has never missed a Supernatural convention. Seeing the pure joy from people who get to meet (and hug) some of their favorite actors was incredibly heartwarming. I felt incredibly lucky to be able to film those special moments.
In between filming photo op sessions, my cousin and I were able to catch some of the panels. Kim and Briana were definitely a highlight of the day, bringing both laughter and serious advice to the stage. Rachel Miner also lit up the theater with her infectious smile and bright attitude. David Haydn-Jones and Jason Manns both brought incredible enthusiasm to their panels. Briana even came out to join Jason at the end of his to give us a sneak peak at a song from her upcoming album. It was beautiful, and an indication that the rest of the album will be just as amazing.
When panels were done, the day wrapped up with autographs and, soon after, Karaoke. It’s hard to explain the awesomeness that is a Supernatural Karaoke party, but when you get to sing your favorite songs onstage with some of the cast, you know it’s bound to be a good time. Also, it’s a free event so even if you don’t have a ticket to the convention itself, you can still attend! The theme for this year’s Karaoke is cartoons, so many people (including the actors) were dressed up as their favorite cartoon characters. I went as Kim Possible and my cousin went as Candice from Phineas and Ferb. You can see clips from Karaoke and more in my Friday vlog.
Saturday is when everything starts to pick up speed a little. Misha Collins always arrives at the conventions on Saturday, which of course draws more of a crowd. There are always more panels scheduled and, ultimately, the day wraps up with the famed Saturday Night Special. For me, Saturday was a blur. Kailey and I were running in about ten billion different directions. Between filming ops and other special videos with some of the actors, we barely made it to any panels. We did get to watch some of Misha’s which was, of course, fantastic. Misha is a wonderful storyteller, so when he answers a question, you can clearly picture what he’s talking about in your mind. That’s how powerful he is with words. It’s always a treat to get to watch a panel with Misha Collins. My cousin and I were a little bummed that we had to miss most of the other programming during the day, like the Ladies of Supernatural one with Kim, Briana, Ruth Connell and Rachel, but we had a lot of video work to do so that took priority.
Once panels, photo ops and autographs ended for the day, we had about two hours before the Saturday Night Special was due to start. Kailey and I grabbed a bite to eat with some good con friends before heading back to the theater. If you don’t know what the Saturday Night Special is, it’s a concert put on every Saturday night of a convention. Headlined by the convention’s house band Louden Swain, a lot of the Supernatural cast will come onstage and sing their hearts out. It’s incredible to watch and always a highlight of any convention weekend. A certain part of the Saturday Night Special was incredibly emotional for me in Pittsburgh, but I’ll let you watch the Saturday vlog to see what that was.
And now we arrive at Sunday. This is always the biggest and busiest day of any Creation Supernatural convention, because it’s the only day when Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are in attendance. They kicked everything off at 10:30 a.m. with an exclusive 30-minute gold panel featuring the boys. This is one of my favorite parts of a convention weekend, because it’s really relaxed. At any gold panel, they keep the house lights up so the boys can see the audience, and if you want to ask a question you just raise your hand from your seat. If you’re lucky, Jared or Jensen will call on you. The panel in Pittsburgh was particularly fun, with Jensen hinting at the possibility of more Scoobynatural in our future. After that panel was over, Jared and Jensen jumped headfirst into photo ops and meet and greets. My cousin and I were lucky enough to be able to film some of the J2 photo op session, which was really fun. When we got to the op room to set up the camera gear, Jensen was driving around a remote-control Impala. It was the cutest thing ever. Also, he almost crashed it into me but I didn’t mind because… it’s Jensen Ackles. And it was hilarious.
Sunday flew by (as it always does) in a blur of ops, videos, and panels. My favorite op experience of the day was when I took a photo with Jared and some lightsabers. Jared and I are both huge Star Wars fans so I knew this had to happen. Afterwards, I got to introduce my cousin Kailey to him, and I surprised her with her own Jared op (we were supposed to do one together but I just gave it to her because everyone deserves their own squishy Jared hug). We also managed to watch all of Alexander Calvert’s panel, which only solidified how much I love him both on the show and as a person. He has an Instagram account for his cat, guys. I mean, come on. Immediately after Alex was the main hour-long panel with Jared and Jensen. As always, the boys killed it onstage. They have an amazing dynamic and have been doing conventions for so long that everything flows super… naturally for them. Heh.
The day finished with autographs. These are always a little terrifying for me because it’s the longest amount of time you really get to talk with them (unless you get a meet and greet). However, I really had nothing to be scared of. At this point Jared treats me like a friend, and he always makes me feel really comfortable. I was able to keep my composure in front of him, but I fangirled a little over everything when I got home. Jensen still manages to intimidate me because… he’s Jensen Ackles. But he’s really a big sweetheart. For more detailed looks at my experiences with the boys, check out the Sunday vlog below.
I will forever be grateful for the experiences I had in Pittsburgh this year (and over the course of the last two years as well). Sometimes I go back and watch my first Supernatural convention videos from Pittsburgh in 2016, and I get all nostalgic. A lot has changed since then, but they’ve mostly been good changes. I hope you all enjoy the vlogs from my Pittsburgh adventure this year. I’ll be back in a few weeks with more vlogs and coverage from Supernatural Chicago!
And as always, a huge thank you to Creation Entertainment for making all of this possible. The staff and volunteers worked really hard to make Pittsburgh an incredible experience for so many fans, and they did not disappoint.
The featured image for this article was taken by Kim Prior.