Here I am, sitting at home instead of attending a "local" game convention: LongCon
. Unfortunately I had to be in wonderful Fayetteville NC, home or Fort Bragg and the XVIII Airborne Corps and I wouldn't get back in time to attend.
Work does come before play after all, which sucks 'cause I could've gotten a free room and maybe even a free badge. On the plus side I was able to do a little back-door support by picking up an unsold copy of the convention module.....well it might have been reserved instead of unsold stock. Not sure, don't care 'cause I get to donate AND get a module, so...win/win?
I like it when a small convention puts out a module. Even better if they do a two-part printing. 1st is a limited run & numbered version for the collectors and/or "deep pockets" that want to toss a few extra bucks to the convention. 2nd is a larger run that is more affordable and still supports the convention. Now if I can afford it I'll get one of both, but that's largely due to the "influence" of an old gamer buddy of mine who passed away a few years ago.
Steve "Stevil" Johansson, one of the D-Team for KenzerCo was a hoot to play with or under. He'd go off of these tangents, almost rants, that were just EPIC. One time I was on vacation and spending the day at the KenzerCo warehouse/office when Stevil launched into this slightly heated "discussion" regarding printed adventures. I really wish I had recorded this for posterity as ...it.....was...AWESOME. The gist of it was that there should be absolutely no such thing as a pristine copy of a published adventure. Adventures should be dog-eared, marked up, and generally abused by the GM....as they are used at the table. In short, an archived adventure is an unloved, and failed, adventure.
With two copies you can collect one, and play one. I don't run enough these days to really play one and when I do run some games I tend to not use printed adventures as-is, but often rather close to as-is. A few tweaks here & there go a long, long way.
I know I've always been a fan of the local game convention, and even some of the "Big Cons"....but not GenCon. Too expensive and way...way too crowded for me. I'm getting a few heebie-jeebies thinking about the crowds. The Origins Game Fair can be crowded, but not nearly at the same level for most of the event. Anyway, a big problem with these smaller game conventions is just the opposite: they are, pretty much by definition, small.
Just finding out about conventions in the first place is probably the largest hurdle. Small conventions have small budgets and commensurate small outreach. Hell, there is a small comic convention in my town this weekend, and I only found out about it this morning...... So what to do? For the real small cons....tiny even, you might find out from your FLGS, but you generally have to be very active in looking for these events. Don't expect their marketing to jump out at you.....
Now for the smaller, regional conventions, a better source might be TableTop Events, assuming they're using this popular service. You can search by location and try to be a bit generic. Search for "TX" or "Texas" instead of "Dallas", but don't expect to always find events on the 1st try. Here's a quick search for "Texas":
You'll note that Long Con is listed on there, but you know what isn't listed? North Texas RPG 2023....and I've already registered for this event....through this website!
If you're lucky, there might be a "local/regional" website. Here in Oklahoma we have OKGamers.com, but you'll probably have to look around a bit to find your state/regions alternative.