Well, my love of anime began when i first saw Robotech as a kid (and it remains my anime passion to this day), but i didnt attend my first "anime" con until 2001. Since then, i've attendeed/volunteered/pan elisted/staffed over 100 conventions and events across the US. I currently do @ 12-14 a year.
Some of my friends have asked (jokingly) if im "trying to become the most popular/known guy at anime conventions" to which i've replied "what i'd ultmately like, is to be able to walk into just about any con, and have at least ONE person there that i know that wants to grab a drink and catch up and share con stories with me".
So basically, the best part of attending anime conventions for me, has been and is the awesome friends i've met and have gotten a chance to know as a result of it.