Conventions can be a great way to spend the weekend with your fellow fans. Most conventions offer insight, camaraderie or merchandise (and sometimes all three). Here are the top five Philadelphia conventions for 2016 based on popularity, longevity and unique opportunity.
Big Philly Beer Festival
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA. 19107
(631) 940-7290
www.phillycraftbeerfest.com

January 14-17 2016

100+ breweries with over 300 craft beers over two nights of unlimited sampling. This is the 2nd annual convention for Big Philly Beer Festival but the first was incredibly popular. Besides beer there is also food from local restaurants (some examples will be Cow & Curd cheese curds, Dapper Dog’s gourmet hotdogs and the York Pretzel company). Food will be sold to everyone on the main floor and a connoisseur’s banquet will be held on Saturday night with 12 beers paired with samplings. Early admission for wristbands begins at 6 pm and ends at 11 pm (last pour at 10:40). Designated driver tickets are $20 and must be purchased before the event. Besides being able to enjoy food & beer, there is also money being raised for the animal rescue group Animal Rescue Partners.

Tattoo Arts Convention Tattoo Kingpin
(215) 423-4780
www.villainarts.com

February 12-14 2016

This is the 18th annual tattoo convention. There will be special artists attending, a tattoo contest, vendors, seminars and entertainment to be announced. Tickets are sold only at the convention for $22 a day or $45 for a 3 day pass. Children under 12 are free. On Friday, the convention begins at 2 pm and runs until midnight. If you want to book a room at one of the hotels, use the code TAT mentioned on the website for a discounted rate. This discount includes the hotels Hilton Garden Inn, Home2Suites by Hilton and Four Points by Sheraton City Center Hotel. The PA Convention Center is large with halls totaling over 500,000 square feet. There is also Wi-Fi, security, the Overlook café and snack area, plus kiosks are also used throughout the center.

Related: Photo Galleries Of The 2015 Tattoo Convention In Philly

Philadelphia Horticultural Society Flower Show
(215) 988-8800
theflowershow.com

March 5-13 2016

The flower show is a big convention every year for many, not just those in the industry. If you are the artistic type, or even just want a nice weekend of looking at pretty things, the convention will wow you with over-the-top displays. This is the world’s oldest and biggest indoor flower show drawing over a quarter of a million visitors each year. If you buy tickets online before March 4, you can save. Since the floor has to be climate controlled, be sure to dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes.

Wizard World Comic Con
(800) 428-9000
www.wizardworld.com

June 2- June 05 2016

The Wizard World Comic Con is a big pop culture convention which runs in multiple states and is stopping in Philly, so here is your chance. This comic con will feature the full gamut of pop from TV- Wrestling, anime and Manga. You will be able to find toys, video games, art and more. Artists will also be attending, but they haven’t been announced yet (past attendees include David Tennant and Ethan Van Sciver).  In 2015, guests were greeted by Burt Reynolds and other pop icons like Cary Elwes and Danny Trejo. A four day pass is $100 at the door, but if you buy now they are $90. You can also purchase a one day pass.

Democratic National Convention
Wells Fargo Center
3601 S. Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19148
convention.democrats.org

July 2016

The last time the Democratic Convention was in Philly was in 1948, though the Republican Convention was here in 2000. Philly was a strong contender for the Convention due to its historical significance and likely because the Democratic party’s major contender Hillary Clinton hails from Scranton. In the end, Philly won the bid over five other cities. The convention is not just for the announcement of who is being endorsed to run for president, it is also for the politically active or those who want to participate in history. You can sign up now by email for information and updates. If you are a member of the party and work or volunteer or are a local delegate or member of the press you can get tickets to attend at your request.

Related: Top Public Art In Philly

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.