Chicago Programming 2023

The schedule for CONfab 2023 in Chicago is now live! Head over here to check out all the details.

Activity submissions are now open! We have several hours available in the evenings for longer activities after regular programming has concluded. To find out more about activities and how to submit them, click here.

About Our Programming

CONfabulation 2023 will be held in Chicago from October 19th through the 22nd. All of CONfab’s programming is designed and staffed by volunteers, both attendees and members of our con committee. If you have any questions about any of our programming, you can email our programming team.

If you would like to see the specific programming we’ve offered at past CONfabs, check out this page with information about all of our previous conventions.

Programming Tracks

We host two tracks of programming on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. All programs in these tracks are 50 minutes long, with ten minute breaks in between each one. Programming is offered in the following formats:

Panels: Presentation by 1-4 panelists, including a moderator to guide the panelists, ensure the panel runs on time, and lead the audience Q&A (this can be the same as the presenter if only one person wants to run the panel). This format allows for a more structured presentation with specific times for taking audience questions. Previous panels have included fandom history, boy bands, diversity in genre TV, ways to participate in fandom, and vidding.

Group Discussions: Roundtable conversation led by 1-2 facilitators. More loosely formatted than a panel. This format should not be a formal presentation, but rather a conversation between the facilitator(s) and attendees. Previous group discussions have included soulmate AUs, OT3s, found families, femslash, and incest.

Workshops: A hands-on experience! Facilitators can teach attendees a skill or game or anything else they might want to share. Workshops can take up multiple time slots if facilitators need more than fifty minutes, either as one double-sized workshop or two separate sessions. Previous workshops have included live beta reading, art tips and tricks, making fannish plushies, and tabletop RPGs 101.

Attendees may submit up to four programs. All submissions are then voted on anonymously, and the ones with the most votes get added to our schedule. If you’re interested in submitting something but you’ve never done programming at CONfab before, we have some tips and tricks that can help you out:

Moderating a Panel
Hosting a Group Discussion
Hosting a Workshop


This year we will have space in the schedule for you to host longer Activities in the evening after regular programming concludes. Activities can include group games, watches of movies or TV, crafting, themed vid shows, and more.

Submissions are now open! To ensure your activity is listed in our program book, your submission must be received by September 7th. If there are available slots after that date, we will still accept submissions, but they will be listed on the website only. You can submit your activity by filling out this form.

Special Events

We also host a variety of other special events throughout the weekend.

Meet & Greet is a casual hangout that happens on Thursday night in the Fandom Lounge and marks the official start of the convention. Here you can meet your fellow attendees and participate in some icebreaker games.

Our annual Vid Show welcomes premieres, new vids, and more. If you would like to submit a vid to be included, you can find more information about that here.

Badfic Idol is a dramatic reading of deliberately terrible short fanfic written by attendees and submitted specifically to be read aloud by our host in the most embarrassing way possible and judged by a panel of attendees, in the style of American Idol. Warning for second- and first-hand embarrassment squick, very thorough descriptions of animal genitals, and usually at least one instance of egg-laying.

Can you name every Infinity Stone or Starfleet captain or member of BTS? Show off your stuff at Fandom Trivia! Teams compete in a pub quiz format for prizes and bragging rights.

The Saturday Night Dance Party includes food, music, and dancing, but it’s also an opportunity to sit down and spend time with your fellow attendees and chat. Drawings for our charity raffle will occur during the dance as well. It’s a celebration, but dancing is totally optional. You can dress up or dress down, whatever you’d prefer!

This year, we will be putting the food in a separate space so that people can eat without masks and then return to the main entertainment. We will have more information about how the food will be served closer to the event.

Off-Site Group Outings

Each year we organize an official outing on Thursday to somewhere in Chicago. Past CONfabulation outings have included trips to zoos, aquariums, and museums. The outing will be announced closer to the convention date, and information, along with any associated costs, will be available here, as well as in the program. Stay tuned for more info!

If you would like to host your own off-site outing, we are happy to advertise it in the program and on our website. More details on how to do that will be available soon.