Worldcon, a.k.a. the World Science Fiction Convention, has been held from 1939 to 1941 and then every year since 1946 somewhere on the planet (so far). Most Worldcons have been in the United States, but they have also taken place in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. Members of Worldcon (attending or not) vote on which speculative fiction works (writing, artwork, performance, and works related to science fiction or fandom) of the previous year will receive a Hugo Award.
The name is owned by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) (whose members are the members of the convention), but the convention itself is run by local fan organizations, which organize "bids" to host Worldcon.
Activities at a Worldcon include (but are not limited to):
- panels -- on technology of the future, writing, publishing, the philosophical and sociological implications of the genre's works, recent scientific discoveries, etc.
- speeches or other presentations by the guests of honor
- gaming (role-playing games (live-action and table), board games, card games)
- filk music
- costuming -- a competition, and whatever people are wearing in the halls
- presentation of Hugo awards
- shopping -- there is generally a large hall full of people selling books, movies, jewellery, costumes (often including weapons), games, comic books, etc.
- an art show, presenting paintings, drawings, sculpture and other work, primarily on science fiction and fantasy themes
- live performances (Klingon opera, productions of Rossums Universal Robots, etc.)
- voting on where the Worldcon three years later shall be
- watching science fiction movies, television shows, etc.
- meetings regarding other WSFS business
- eating and sleeping (we try to get at least two good meals and five hours sleep... :-)