Indianapolis PopCon is the Convergence of All Things Pop Culture

Writer / KJ McGlinn
Photography Provided

It was more than 10 years ago when PopCon co-owner Carl Doninger and a few close friends had the idea to create not just another convention, but an experience unlike any other. This experience would immerse attendees in familiar pop culture while introducing them to new, exciting experiences.Indianapolis PopCon

Doninger had a passion for tabletop gaming while some of his friends loved comic books and another with a passion for the show “My Little Pony.” A few just loved popular TV shows and creators on YouTube. What the group realized was every person in their life had a passion that fell under the pop culture category, but not everyone had a place to gather and celebrate that passion.

Soon, Doninger was joined by co-owner Kris Keys. “I thought it was a cool opportunity to plan an event that was a little different than other conventions out there,” Keys says.

The first PopCon was held in Indianapolis in June of 2014. Nine different pop culture genres were represented from movies and TV, to comics and anime and to eSports and tabletop gaming. Now, 10 years later, PopCon is a tradition for friends and family alike in Indianapolis and an annual trip for many people from around the world. Each year, more than 30,000 people attend PopCon.

“Once you fall into our universe, you are welcomed and immediately feel like you are part of something bigger. Friends are made and cultivated. Annual reunions are organized,” Doninger says.

While the term ‘comic con’ is something you’ve most likely heard, PopCon is not a comic convention. You will certainly find comic books and people in cosplay–hat is part of the fun. But, you’ll also find a fully immersive world of pop culture.

“Most importantly, you’ll also find a family,” says Doninger. “I love seeing the previously oblivious parents thrilled to see their kids in their element, and then realize that they love PopCon too.”

Indianapolis PopConAs an attendee of PopCon, not only does the event promise a welcoming atmosphere but also the opportunity to try escape rooms, virtual reality, laser tag, tabletop gaming and video gaming.

Celebrities that have already been announced this year include Patrick Warburton (“Rules of Engagement,” ”Seinfeld”), James Marsters (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Torchwood”) and Michelle Gomez (“Doctor Who,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”). Voice actors from popular anime shows like “My Hero Academia” and “Attack on Titan” will also be in attendance. The convention is a favorite among anime fans.

For parents who may not know anything about the anime that their children love, it is a place for them to bond, learn and share the excitement.

“It’s special when that parent that drove more than 12 hours to bring their child to meet someone at PopCon, realizes there are 100 other parents that did the same thing,” Doninger says.

If you’ve often thought a comic con might not be your thing, the duo invites you to come to their event where they assure you that PopCon will become “your thing.” Walk through the vendor hall full of artists and creators. Sit down and try a board game or take the young kids to the Lego display that is bigger than a basketball court.Indianapolis PopCon

Simply put: If you’re passionate about it, you’ll find it at PopCon.

Tickets for the 10th annual PopCon Indy happening August 25th-August 27th are on sale at

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