Meet the Dynamic Duo Making Long Island a Geek Paradise with Tropic Con

Pat Madden, an event coordinator by trade, has always been a huge geek.

“I’ve been a dork as far back as I can remember,” Madden told us in a recent interview with “I’ve always been a big pop culture guy.” 

Everything from scifi to Power Rangers to Pokemon are in his purview.

“In my mid-30s I know more about Pokemon than children and quite frankly it’s embarrassing,” Madden joked.

With a background in film, Madden transitioned his skills into organizing conventions, fundraisers, and golf outings for a number of different companies before he founded a pop culture paradise in 2019 when he and his fiancée, Alyssa Brown, decided to start creating events for themselves, leading to the birth of Tropic Con through their production company El Churro Entertainment.

“I’ve worked at other big conventions before like New York Comic Con and volunteered with I-Con as far back as 2010,” he said.

Madden cannot be missed in a crowd. He’s very tall and wears big Hawaiian shirts that match his big personality. His signature look was also what inspired the name of the event and the idea that this was a paradise for all kinds of geeks. (It was actually something that Brown suggested since people always recognized him as the big guy in a Hawaiian shirt.) Madden said together he and Brown saw a way to build a culture from comics and cartoons.

“We saw a hole that needed to be filled on Long Island and wanted to create a pop culture convention open to everyone, rekindling the feeling of older conventions while adapting with the crowd,” he said.

Tropic Con began as a one-day event in 2019 at the Melville Marriott, attracting just under 1,000 attendees. Despite the pandemic in 2020 forcing the convention to go virtual, the event returned stronger than ever with an outdoor summer event in 2021, which as a byproduct led to another creation by Madden and Brown called Moonlight Market.

“We thought, ‘people really like this,’” said Madden.

Moonlight Market is a thrice-annual event now that includes the Midsummer market and Halloween event both at Great South Bay Brewery and their Night Before Krampus festival in December at Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue. Their last Moonlight Market has over 2,000 people per day visiting.

In 2022, Tropic Con was back to a full-scale event, and it’s now booked for the next couple of years at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge.

Perusing the guest list, there is a distinct focus on anime at Tropic Con.

“From the start, we focused on booking local talent and those we met at Comic Cons,” Madden explained. “As we grew, more people reached out to us, and we were able to create a smaller, more intimate event that appealed to many. Some talents were out of our budget, but we picked and chose based on what attendees asked for.”

A fan favorite from last year was Matt Hill, and this year’s event promises even more exciting guests, including Jennie Kwan, voice actor for “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and Jill Harris, known for her roles in “One Piece,” “Black Clover,” and “Hazbin Hotel.”

The sixth Tropic Con will feature over 60 vendors, a vendor hall, and a celebrity guest room. “Our setup includes an artist alley, a panel room where everyone can get in the spotlight, a D&D lounge, and a video gaming lounge, all in one massive space,” Madden said.

Madden and Brown, both self-proclaimed geeks, bring their unique passions to Tropic Con. Madden, with his love for Star Wars, Power Rangers, and Pokémon, and Brown, a massive Lord of the Rings fan and goth girl, have created an event that resonates with the diverse interests of the community. It’s a match made in heaven.

“We’ve slowly built our community on Long Island for fellow nerds,” Madden said. “It’s a dream come true to build the community here.”

Tropic Con has also rewarded fans with initiatives like the $10,000 in cosplay prizes to celebrate their five-year anniversary at the 2022 TropicCon. This year the cosplay prizes total $5,000 for a variety of categories.

“It’s our way of giving back to our community and celebrating our anniversary,” Madden said.

As Tropic Con continues to grow, it has found a loyal audience.

“The more events we do, the more we seem to find our audience,” Madden noted. “Our most repeat attendees were kids when I first met them, and now they’re graduating high school. They thank us for giving them and their friends something to look forward to every year.”

TropicCon has become a safe space for anyone who wants to feel part of a culture off geekdom on Long Island.

“There can be a lot of negativity, but we’re a pop culture paradise,” Madden said. “We want everyone to feel safe, enjoy, and have a good time.”

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