COVID-19: SoonerCon 2021 Cancellation; Next Convention in June 2022

COVID-19: SoonerCon 2021 Cancellation; Next Convention in June 2022

The SoonerCon Committee and Future Society of Central Oklahoma Board are heartbroken to share our decision to cancel SoonerCon 29, slated for June 25-27, 2021. We deeply regret canceling the event, but must do so for the safety of our many participants and immediate financial reasons.

In the time of the COVID-19 global disaster, these safety considerations extend to the entire community. We cannot in good conscience host a 3,000-plus participant event that brings in people from all over the nation and internationally in June 2021. Presently, hosting such an event would be in violation of City of Norman ordinance, and statewide mandates, and we do not know what the future holds. The City of Norman presently restricts large gatherings to 50 persons or less and there exists a 50% capacity statewide mandate. While the future is looking brighter each day toward a generally-available vaccine and other public health measures, we are not there yet.

SoonerCon’s year-over-year financials rely on thousands of participants to remain solvent. Without the revenue for the 2020 event — and now 2021 — we find it necessary to prepare for our June 2022 con with the hope we can safely return to similar operating levels.

All current Memberships, Exhibitors, Art Show, and Artist Alley vendor payments will be refunded. You’ll receive an email from SoonerCon in the coming weeks with information on how to process your refund. Be sure to watch the email address you used to make your SoonerCon purchase. In the meantime, please have your Eventbrite confirmation number handy if you paid online. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work diligently to process your refunds as soon as possible.

As a reminder, SoonerCon is a 100% volunteer-operated nonprofit convention. For over 30 years, it’s been a labor of love and a place to share an optimistic view of the future. We grew to what we are today because of this legacy and the fandom community’s dedication to preserving creative and popular culture.

Our volunteers, committee and board of directors are among our most passionate advocates for our mission and the convention’s legacy of fellowship. This was not a decision made lightly. The leadership team decided to cancel at the advice of legal counsel and after consulting with local and state government leaders and public health authorities. 

Ultimately, COVID-19 as a global disaster represents too many unknowns to safely plan around — and this event takes many months of volunteer planning and financial commitments.

We miss you. We want to see you again! But it’s not yet safe.

Thank you for being our constant friend. Thank you for your care for each other and for being understanding of this difficult news as we work together to move forward. We wish you all a safe and wonderful year.

What does cancellation mean for paid attendees, exhibitors, and artists?

Membership/Attendee Options

Refund: The purchase price of all current Membership payments will be refunded. You’ll receive an email by January 31, 2021, from us at SoonerCon at the email address used to make your purchase with instructions for processing your refund. In the meantime, please have your Eventbrite confirmation number handy.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work diligently to process your refunds over these next few weeks.

Exhibitor and Artist Alley Vendors

Refund: The purchase price of all current Exhibitors and Artist Alley vendor payments will be refunded. You’ll receive an email by January 31, 2021, from us at SoonerCon at the email address used to make your purchase with instructions for processing your refund. In the meantime, please have your Eventbrite confirmation number handy.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work diligently to process your refunds over these next few weeks.Your contact information will be retained and whenever we open vendor applications once again, you will receive an emailed notification to apply for space.

Art Show Artists

Refund: The purchase price of all current Art Show artist payments will be refunded. You’ll receive an email by January 31, 2021, from us at SoonerCon at the email address used to make your purchase with instructions for processing your refund. In the meantime, please have your Eventbrite confirmation number handy.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work diligently to process your refunds over these next few weeks.Your contact information will be retained and whenever we open applications once again for the art show, you will receive an email notification to apply for space.

FAQ

Why are you canceling?

In the time of the COVID-19 global disaster, the safety concerns for our many participants extend to the community at all levels. We cannot in good conscience host a 3,000-plus participant event that brings in people from all over the nation and internationally in June 2021. 

The leadership team made the decision to cancel at the advice of legal counsel and after consultation with local and state government leaders and public health authorities.

Ultimately, COVID-19 represents too many unknowns to safely plan around — and this event takes many months of volunteer planning and financial commitments.

What about the vaccine?

We are incredibly relieved by the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine in our communities! More so, we are pleased that our state initiated distribution of the first-available Pfizer vaccine beginning on December 14, 2020, per its CDC-approved distribution plan.

However, the availability of the vaccine for the general population widely remains unknown per the phasing of this plan in Oklahoma and ever-changing vaccine supply availability. Health officials have indicated it may be closer to late spring or early summer before we move between Phases 3 and Phases 4 of the plan in our state. Vaccine supply is needed worldwide, and it will take months for vaccine production, allocation and shipment to fully occur within the U.S.

Additionally, the CDC offers this consideration about vaccine efficacy in the general population in order to mitigate the pandemic in the longer term:

Q: What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?

A: Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity and will provide more information as it is available.

 

CDC Source

And, as the Mayo Clinic advises alongside the CDC’s advice to maintain current safety practices like mask wearing and social distancing, even after getting vaccinated:

Q: Can I stop taking safety precautions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Experts want to learn more about the protection that a COVID-19 vaccine provides and how long immunity lasts before changing safety recommendations. Factors such as how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities will also affect these recommendations.

 

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends following these precautions for avoiding infection with the COVID-19 virus…

Long story short — we must remain patient and give time for the vaccine to be widely available and completely administered in our larger population before Oklahoma and the U.S. can begin relaxing COVID-19 safety precautions and the restrictions that affect large events like SoonerCon taking place. We are optimistic that by our June 2022 event, this goal will be met.

Why not hold a virtual SoonerCon in 2021?

As an entirely nonprofit, volunteer-organized con, we are not positioned to logistically or financially facilitate a virtual convention experience. Instead, we are focusing our attention and resources on planning a blowout return to conventioning at the next SoonerCon.

If you have a suggestion for a one-off virtual panel for us to host this next year or a similar idea, please complete our contact form with that information.

Why not hold a smaller SoonerCon in 2021?

SoonerCon’s year-over-year financials rely on thousands of participants to remain solvent. Basically, in order to afford the space and other bills that come with putting on the convention, while keeping down costs for our members, we must maintain a certain high level of attendance.

Besides financial reasons, it is extremely difficult to ensure the safety of all participants even with limited numbers. The virus spreads via close contact and cons are made to bring people together. We care too much about our community to risk the spread.

When is the next SoonerCon?

The next SoonerCon is planned for June 24-26, 2022, at the Embassy Suites in Norman, OK.

Can I transfer my membership, exhibitor, or art show space to the next con?

No. We are simply refunding all memberships, exhibitor fees, and art show space fees at this time. Once we are ready to sell memberships, exhibitor space, or art show space for the 2022 SoonerCon event, we will contact those who previously held memberships or space in addition to announcing to the general public.

Can I get a refund for my membership, exhibitor, or art show space?
Yes! You’ll receive an email by January 31, 2021, from us at SoonerCon at the email address used to make your purchase with instructions for processing their refund. In the meantime, please have your Eventbrite confirmation number handy. We do not have the ability to transfer your membership or fees to the next SoonerCon (now occurring in 2022). If you have not received your refund instructions email by January 31, 2021, please email info@soonercon.com. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Will there be the same guests at the next con?

We will update our guest lineup information as it develops. For programming questions or suggestions, please email programming@soonercon.com. 

What about my room at the hotel?

The Embassy Suites has directly reached out to customers in the 2021 room block to offer them the option to cancel their hotel reservation for the cancelled event weekend. Please note:

  • If you have reserved a hotel room, you have not been charged and may cancel your reservation at any time (as usual).
  • If you did not reserve your room under the SoonerCon room block, you will need to cancel your reservation yourself by contacting the hotel directly or via the web using your emailed confirmation notice.
  • If you wish to cancel your hotel room personally now, please let us know you have done so by forwarding your cancellation confirmation to hotel@soonercon.com. This will help us stay connected going forward.

We are planning SoonerCon 2022, and will inform everyone when our 2022 hotel reservation link becomes available. You will need to complete a new reservation for our 2022 event.

What about 2022 hotel room reservations?

We are planning SoonerCon 2022, and will inform everyone when our 2022 hotel reservation link becomes available. Our negotiated SoonerCon room rate for a single king or double queen suite is $115 nightly for the 2022 convention weekend. You will need to complete a new reservation for our 2022 event.

Please feel free to complete this survey to be added to our 2022 hotel room block mailing list and to stay in touch with our con staff’s hotel liaison: 

https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2gJErUpCiYEOVFz

What does this mean for me as a volunteer?

We could not hold SoonerCon each year without our volunteers! We cannot thank everyone enough who has already applied to volunteer and we hope you will consider volunteering for the June 2022 con. Our Volunteer Management team will be emailing current volunteers with updates. If you want to sign up to volunteer, visit soonercon.com/volunteer/ to apply.

What does this mean for me as a panelist/programming guest?

Panelist guests who previously accepted our invitation to appear will receive updated invites to appear at SoonerCon when programming prep and planning commences. They will receive this information via email from our programming staff. We hope each panelist guest will be available to join us in 2022.

Can I apply to be a panelist/programming guest?

Visit https://www.soonercon.com/programming-faq/ for information on being a SoonerCon panelist and then https://www.soonercon.com/guest-application/ to apply.

What does this mean for me as a costume contestant?

We plan to hold our annual costume contest in 2022 at the convention. We will update our costuming page (https://www.soonercon.com/costuming/) when we have all the details ready to share.

What does this mean for me as a game master?

Our game room director will be reaching out by email to all GM applicants and coordinating groups about availability for our 2022 event. We appreciate you running games at SoonerCon!

How can I help SoonerCon right now?

Thank you for wanting to help! It means so much to us to know you care. 

Please stay tuned to our Facebook page and website for continued updates on our fundraising efforts. We need our community’s positive support now more than ever before. We know you will be there for us whenever that ask is made. You always have been.

In the meantime, you can support us when you shop on Amazon by using the Amazon Smile link and selecting Future Society of Central Oklahoma as your charity.

We’ve come far in our 30-plus year history; consider what we’ve made possible together by brightening this place we call home. As a Future Society, we believe this spirit will prevail in the time ahead. Together, we are culture creators and this doesn’t stop just because we can’t meet in-person.

This is disappointing news and I really just need to vent. Plus, I’m missing my con community, so who do I contact?

Please complete our contact form and a member of the Future Society of Central Oklahoma board of directors will respond. Please identify your concern in the subject line so we can get you to the right person. Members of the public are always welcome to join our FSCOK board meetings. The 2021 meeting calendar is available here.

We often hold online gaming or other social events, too. Please watch our social media spaces for details when those events happen and join us!

I don’t see the information I’m looking for. Who do I contact?

Please complete our contact form and we will be in touch shortly.

Helpful Links

We encourage everyone to follow the official advice found at the following links:

World Health Organization (WHO): 
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Oklahoma State Department of Health:
https://www.ok.gov/health/Prevention_and_Preparedness/Acute_Disease_Service/Disease_Information/Coronavirus_Disease_2019/index.html

Cleveland County Health Department:
https://www.ok.gov/health/County_Health_Departments/Cleveland_County_Health_Department/

City of Norman Coronavirus Updates:
https://www.normanok.gov/norman-coronavirus-updates

Office of the Governor for the State of Oklahoma:
https://www.governor.ok.gov/