programming at ICON
Megan Lara, Lar DeSouza and Daniel Mohr at ICON 39.
image by Terri M. LeBlanc

About Programming at ICON

Most of our panels and workshops come from ideas submitted by our membership. We encourage everyone to submit ideas. You do not have to moderate or be a part of the panel or workshop to submit an idea.  Without your ideas for panels and workshops, ICON would be stale and boring. We are always looking to bring new things to ICON.

Programming suggestions for the upcoming convention are accepted between the beginning of January and the end of June each year.  Watch this space for more information about how to submit your idea!

Submit a Programming Idea


Special Programming Events

Barnes & Noble Fundraising Event

Each a number of authors attending ICON gather at at Barnes & Noble to meet and greet fans. This includes our author guest of honor.  This event is free for the public to attend.  All we ask is that you mention ICON when you make a purchase.  A small portion of your purchase will support ICON and our chosen charity for the year.

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm on Thursday
Cedar Rapids Barnes & Noble, 333 Collins Rd NE Bldg 1, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

Authors interested in attending the event should fill out our Professional Attendee Interest form.

Note: It is the author’s responsibility to contact Barnes & Noble BEFORE July 1 in order to participate in the event. Authors must complete the form to receive the information on how to be a part of this signing event.


Bulwer-Lytton Contest

“It was a dark and stormy night…” — only the worst beginning of the classic novel opener written in 1809 by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton. You have been challenged to come up with a worse one! The Bulwer-Lytton Contest is open all weekend. Submit your bad first line at the Registration desk.

Download the entry form

Vogon Poetry Contest

According to Douglas Adams, the Vogons write the third worst poetry in the galaxy. Can you write the first? The Vogon Poetry Contest is open all weekend. Submit your bad poetry at the Registration desk.

Download the entry form

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At ICON we host a fun, relaxed, casual Masquerade/Cosplay Show. We welcome all. Outfits must be “Street Legal” and we ask that you keep things PG-13 as there may be children either in the audience or on the stage.

How To Participate

  • Complete a Masquerade registration form. These will be available at the Registration Desk starting on Friday.
  • The Masquerade is usually early Saturday evening.  Please check the Programming Guide for the exact date and time.
  • There will be an MC who will read information about your costume, including who you are portraying, who created the costume and who is presenting.
  • The MC can also read a short story to go with your presentation.
  • There MAY (no promises) be technology to play a CD with recorded music or presentation. Please keep these to no more than 90 seconds (less is better).


The Chocolate Ceremony

Shrouded in secrecy and held late at night, the whole of ICON gathers to pay homage to the greatest gift the gods have ever given us.


photo by John Johnson