Chicago TARDIS is the Midwest’s largest Doctor Who event. Since 2000, the convention brings fans together each Thanksgiving weekend. This year it was on November 23-25 at the Westin Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois. This is a small convention. The weekend tickets are on the higher price range ($70-90) for a small show.
Every year, this convention brings in several Doctor Who guests from the TV show and the audio dramas. This year their biggest name guests were Pearl Mackie, Tony Curran, Ingrid Olvier, and Jenna Coleman (though she ended up canceling). Like many shows this event offers a lot of activities such as vendor and artist halls, many panels, and even a little room for kids to draw and play. The show offers meet and greets and even a special dinner with guest and staff (for a separate price). The convention has a lot of fun after-hour activities. The Friday night dance party and Saturday night karaoke party are always a highlight every year.
The cosplay scene is all Doctor Who with some sci-fi/fantasy/steampunk mixed in. It is an older crowd that attends this show, and perhaps because of this, there are not as many cosplayers compared to more mainstream conventions. The costume staff is large with 8-10 people running and judging the contest. This year had the fewest participants entering the contest in recent years with only 14 entries. The judges even went on stage to ask the audience to come back and enter the contest next year. The convention has changed the cosplay contest over the past 2 years, trying to make the it more of a prestigious event with higher quality entries. These attempts may have deterred more casual cosplayers from participating.
The fact that this is a small convention might be due to their singular fandom focus, as well as the fact that it is held just after Thanksgiving every year. This year the numbers may have dropped possibly due to Jenna Coleman canceling the last minute. She may have been the show's biggest draw. However, this convention is very enjoyable if you are a Doctor Who fan. In the past they has made attempts to venture into similar fandoms such as Harry Potter and they have made strides to be more welcoming to newer Doctor Who fans, with some limited success. For me, as a Doctor Who fan I always enjoy this convention. If you are not into Doctor Who, you may also enjoy attending if only for the after parties and meeting up with friends.