Gen Con returns to Indianapolis with mask mandates and costumes

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INDIANAPOLIS — Gen Con is back! Thousands of gamers will once again visit Indianapolis as the grand convention has made its return to downtown for the first time since the pandemic began.

“It’s disappointing. You want a place to come play table tops and hang out, have fun in costume,” said gamer Blaine Johnson about last year’s Gen Con absence, “the atmosphere, you know, it’s nice to have people with a common interest around.”

While Gen Con will not be at full capacity, there are still plenty of people in costume to keep the annual tradition going. Attendees say they are glad to be back and don’t seem to mind the added COVID protocols.

“We have been planning the last 12 months for this exact moment,” said Chris Gahl, senior vice president of Visit Indy. “We have hosted 150 events since last summer, and nearly, virtually no cases of COVID 19, no spreaders.”

All Gen Conners must be masked inside the convention center. Several fans have used the mandate to add to their costumes.

“Obviously, the mask, it has its challenges, but it also gives us another chance to be creative and to make props out of it. We make the best of a situation I guess,” said Matthew Fadziejewski, who has been coming to Gen Con for years with his father and friends.

According to Visit Indy, surveys from Gen Con showed roughly 90% of their attendees are vaccinated. Game makers say it’s allowing for a return to normal.

“Takes a little bit of the stress off, a bit of the unsureness off, people can dive back into these games,” expressed Daniel Scillieri, director of sales at Monster Fight Club. “These games were meant to be played, dive back into that social aspect.”

Visit Indy expects Gen Con to be an estimated $37 million economic booster to the city.

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