When Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax died in 2008, role playing gamers from around the world joined to honor Gygax's life with a virtual convention, held at locations around the world. Gygax's friends and family held an impromptu game event at Lake Geneva's American Legion Hall following his funeral on March 8, 2008, now known as "Gary Con 0" to many. By 2009, his son Luke Gygax established the first official Gary Con, still at the Legion Hall. "Gary Con I" was held March 7, 2009. It was attended by a number of gaming industry icons: Jim Ward, Frank Mentzer, Tim Kask, Tom Wham, Steve Chenault, and dozens more from the TSR family.
By 2010, the Legion Hall no longer had the capacity to host the growing event and its participants. As a result, the event was moved to a local lodge west of the town where it has been held ever since. Convention organizer, Luke Gygax, told a local paper Gary Con was "...meant to be a more intimate event, reminiscent of the formative years of the gaming industry," and that is why it has become a special gathering for so many each year.