Ultimate Guide to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days 2016

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So you’re going to Dallas Comic Con Fan Days, are ya? Congrats! You’re about to embark on an amazing adventure! You may be wondering, “What do I wear,” “How do I meet the celebrities,” and “How much do things cost?” Here are some things you need to know before you go. I’ve taken the most FAQ’s and combined them into one place full of answers and advice.

*Fan Days veterans note: there are changes from last year including show length time, ticket prices, and rules!

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The Basics
When:
February 13-14
Saturday Feb 13: 10am-6:30pm
Sunday Feb 14: 10am-4pm
Where:
Irving Convention Center
500 West Las Colinas Blvd

Irving, TX 75039
Price:
Single Day:
Saturday $45 at the door
Sunday $30 at the door
Kids $5 with adult ticket
Both days: $65 at the door

Parking:

“The Irving Convention Center’s east parking lot is under construction, but they have made arrangements for fans to use another lot down the road once they reach capacity at the center.

Shuttle buses start 9am both days and end one hour after show closes. 4 buses provided by Roadrunner Shuttles will be running back and forth throughout the day. There will be convention center staff in uniform at both locations to assist.

Urban Tower pick up: Entrance of garage
Convention Center pick up: East side of building (front door)”

Parking at the Irving Convention Center is $8.00.

Q.Can I bring food/water bottles to Fan Days?
A. By technical standards I don’t think you are supposed to, but it’s a smart idea to bring a backpack and put a water bottle and small snack inside. If you have special dietary needs it’s definitely okay.

*Fan Days Virgin*
Q. I’ve never been to Fan Days. How can I decide whether I want to go or not?
A. Fan Days is a great first convention. It’s more on the comic book side, but you get a good mix of fandoms. Sci-Fi and Comics are the main fandoms but there’s always a good representation of Anime and other genres! The crowds are not too huge, but large enough so where you will see a lot of people and a lot of costumes! Expect some lines, but not insane (though Saturday will be the most crowded day).

  1. How can I see all the events happening and where they will be?
  2. A pamphlet will be provided at check-in that will have a map and schedule of the events.
  3. How can I make sure I have the BEST experience at Fan Days?
    A. The best advice I can give to have a great time is to not be too scheduled and to expect the unexpected. Things happen – guest stars get sick, cancel appearances, and timings change unexpectedly. Go in with an open mind, back-up plans if needed, and just enjoy yourself!
  4. How is it compared to other conventions in Dallas?
    A. This convention is right in the middle. It averages around 5,000 attendees, but as the years go by it gets bigger! Previously named Sci-Fi Expo. Be prepared for a lot more vendors, and a wider variety of guests!! On the flip side this is also going to mean more traffic, lines, and crowds than we are used to at smaller conventions.
  5. What does a typical day consist of? What’s a simple play-by-play of the day?
    A. A typical day varies from person to person. It depends on what your interests are and why you’re attending the convention. But, here is a very basic run-down of what a very standard day could be!
    • 1. Get dressed and ready to go
    • 1a. Cosplaying? Make a checklist the day before of everything you are planning on wearing so that you can check it off as you get ready the next morning. Not cosplaying? A checklist is good to have anyway. Camera? Water bottle? Phone? ID/Credit card?
    • 2.Get directions and drive to the convention
    • 2a. If you are planning to get there when the convention opens, plan on getting there at least an hour in advance for the best parking/spot in line. Especially if you haven’t pre-registered. If you do not care about lines/aren’t in a rush, take it at your own pace.
    • 3. Arrive: pay for parking, park in garage/available lots
    • 3a. Bring cash for parking ($5-$10)
    • 4. Get in line to get your badge
    • 4a. Don’t forget your license/emails with receipt barcode of badge purchase
    • 5. Enter convention
    • 5a. Grab a schedule and establish a good meeting place in case you and your buddies get separated. Go over the schedule and narrow down what you want to do if you haven’t already pre-planned. (Sometimes there are some last-minute schedule changes, too!)
    • 6. Plan your attack
    • 6a. Grab a map and explore! Before you commit to doing something, it’s always best to get a feel for the convention floor and where everything is. Best bathroom? Panel rooms? Dealer’s room? Food? You never know when you may need to make an emergency run to the artist alley for a last-minute print! This is also a good time to scope out your food options like where the food trucks are parked, what’s available at the con, and what restaurants are nearby for after-con endeavors.
    • 7. Wander around
    • 7a. Wandering around is some of the most fun. A lot of the day consists of just walking back and forth to the same places. While this may not sound thrilling, just wait. There is always something new to see and always something happening. Cosplay red carpet, celebrities roaming the convention floors, and random acts of awesomeness make each experience unique!
    • 8. Attend at least one panel
    • 8a. I usually aim to go to one or two panels. More than two sometimes eats up the day too much for me. Between waiting in line for the panel, waiting for it to start, and then getting out, it all ends up being anywhere from a 2-4 hour experience. Worth it for some panels, not so much for others. Especially since the convention hours are relatively short (10-7, 10-5) there may be other things you won’t want to miss out on.
    • 9. Talk to artists/dealers and buy something unique
    • 9a. Artists work is unique and a lot of times are convention exclusives! I always try to buy at least one piece I really like and go out of my way to meet the artist. This gives you a deeper connection to the piece you get and makes you really treasure it! Although a lot of things you find in the dealer’s room you can find online and at retailers, there are a lot of vintage and rare pieces that you can’t! In addition, some of the dealer’s are some of the coolest people you will ever meet!
    • 10. Remember to take pictures (SuperHero Photos booth is usually located on one of the top floors, Joe, the photographer, is great and will make your costume look amazing!)
    • 10a. This may sound obvious but I always seem to forget! If you see something cool, take a picture. Chances are you may not see it again!

Pretend schedule:
• 10am: arrive, park, get in line
• 11am: enter building/get badge
• 11:15-12:30: explore dealer’s room, artist alley, convention floor
• 12:30-12:45: Grab food to eat in line
• 12:45: get in line for 2 p.m. panel
• 2:00: enter panel
• 3:00: exit panel
• 3:30: go get autographs
• 5:00: back to dealer’s room
• 6:00: Final walk through

*Kids Zone*
Children’s admission: $5 with adult ticket purchase
Q. Is Fan Days kid friendly?
A. Yes! A lot of conventions go out of their way to make sure that children are welcome. Fan Days is no exception! There is a lot for kids to do, and kids can even walk the cosplay red carpet and get their photo taken!

  1. Do cosplayers take pictures with kids? Is that okay?
    A. Absolutely! Ask any cosplayer – posing with kids is usually the best part of a convention! Don’t be afraid to stop someone and ask for a picture, most are more than happy to pose!
  2. There are a lot of people attending, should I be worried about my child getting lost?
    A. As in any setting, keep a sharp eye on your kid. There is times that there is inappropriate content at a booth or a cosplayer who may not appreciate their costume being pulled on/touched. Make sure you are respectful. If you have any concerns while at the convention, the volunteers are amazing and happy to help!

*Photos/Autographs*
Q. How does getting a photo with a celebrity work? Do I just walk up with my phone/camera?

A. Very rarely can you take a photograph with a celebrity at their booth for free. At Fan Days most celebrities will have specific “photo op” times where fans will line up with pre-purchased vouchers to get a photo with their choice of guest. If a celebrity is able to take a photo at their booth they will tell you so. Both autographs and photos cost money and unless you’ve preordered, those will be paid for at each celebrities table.

  1. Can me and my friend/fiancé/partner get a picture together with a celebrity? Does that cost extra?
    A. According to Epic Photo Op: The price of a photo is the price per posed picture, not per person. There is a limit of three people in each photo (excluding children 3 years or under, and media guests).
  2. What has been your best and worst experience with autographs or photo ops?
    A. Best experience is that I am able to just walk up and get the autograph I want with no wait. Worst experience was that I waited a long time to meet an actor, and then he had to leave for the day, so I waited over an hour for nothing. A lot of times a long line can be worth the wait though. For example, I waited about an hour to meet Felicia Day and she was amazing. She even did a shout out video for my professor (and yes, I got an A).

*Panels*

  1. How early do I need to line up for a panel?
    A. This really depends on how popular of a panel it will be and the day. Typically in the past at Fan Days the rule of thumb is to line up about an hour before the panel. Sometimes the wait can be shorter, or longer. It depends how popular the panel is. Remember, VIP guests get first entry/dibs on seats.

*Cosplay/Wardrobe*

  1. What should I wear to Fan Days?
    A. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one. For guys, typically a nerdy shirt, jeans (or shorts), and sneakers are a classic convention look. Ladies have looks all over the place – I’ve seen anything from casual tee and shorts to full decked out high heels and short skirts. If you’re planning on staying a while I’d just advise you wear something comfortable! Unless it’s for a cosplay, conventions typically aren’t the best place to test out new footwear!
  2. I want to cosplay but don’t know what character to be! What are some popular male/female characters for Fan Days I could be?
    Classic comic characters are usually very popular. Harley Quinn, Dr. Who characters, Poison Ivy, Captain America, etc. But don’t be afraid to branch out! Don’t dress as a character you don’t like just because it’s popular.
  3. A weapon goes well with my costume and is a necessary prop. Can I bring it?
    A.Metal weapons are not allowed. If you bring a sword it needs to be wooden, plastic, or kept in it’s sheath and closed with zip ties. Toy guns will need to be capped with an orange tip. There will be a weapons check as you walk in (it is FREE to get your weapon checked) and they will tell if you if your weapon is not allowed or what you can do to make it convention appropriate. Keep in mind tight spaces and children.
  4. Is it required for me to cosplay in order to go to Fan Days?
    A. Not at all! Even though cosplay is a big thing right now, typically there are less people dressed up than not!
  5. I’m not planning on cosplaying, but I do want to wear a costume. Is that okay?
    A. YES! To many cosplaying means taking the role of the character and not breaking said role. Whether that’s your definition or not – dressing up in a costume and just being your kooky self is 100% awesome!
  6. Is there a cosplay contest?
  7. YES. Adults is on Sat. Line up at 4 pm at the cosplay hideout. First 60 in line will be entered. There are different categories for winners! (creative, anime, comics, etc.) Sunday is Kids Cosplay Contest.
  8. I am planning on cosplaying but my materials are heavy/hot. Is there anywhere I can sit down and take a break without being asked for photos?
    A. Yes!! There will actually be a Cosplay Hideout lounge located on the map thanks to North Texas Cosplay. Water/Snacks?Place to rest
  9. We are still on the fence for Cosplay. Do you always go in costume?
    A. I usually go in costume, but when I don’t I usually sport some sort of nerdy apparel.
  10. What are your personal experiences, both good and bad with going in costume?
    A. The fun thing about going is costume is getting to show off your work (if you made it) and getting your picture taken! It’s fun to have some spotlight. Also, you can connect with people who love the same fandom as you, because it’s pretty obvious what you love. The downside is it can be hard to do lots of things because you are being stopped for photos, your costume is restrictive and doesn’t allow you to do other activities. For me, a lot of my costumes don’t have pockets so I try to integrate some sort of carrying device (backpack that fits, utility belt I can put money in etc.)
  11. You might not know since its a new company, but what has been your experiences with other Cons and prop guns?
    A. Make sure your prop gun has the orange tip and is plastic. Metal guns and props are prohibited at DCC.

*Hotel*
Q. Do I need to get a hotel room?

A. There is a hotel next to the Irving Convention Center. Information can be found here. Since the convention isn’t located in a hotel, there isn’t really much hotel nightlife (like you would find at A-Kon, Dragoncon, etc.). The nightlife will be at the after party Saturday night.

 

*Expenses*
Q. How much money should I bring?

A. This really depends on how much you are able to spend and what you are looking at getting. Tickets at the door can be purchased using credit card. Most vendors take card, but it’s usually a lot easier to pay cash and sometimes vendors are willing to cut deals for cash sales. If you are looking to get some high-dollar items, bring enough to support that. If you aren’t looking for anything particular, my go-to amount is $100 in cash for food and misc. spending.

 

*Dealer’s Room / Artist Alley*
Q. Should I try and bargain in the dealers room?

A. Most vendors are willing to haggle a bit. Just make sure you are courteous and not pushy about it. In my opinion, it’s usually easier to strike a good deal on the last day of the con. Most times big retailers are unable to make further markdowns on their merchandise, but have convention exclusive sales.

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Let’s get nerdy this weekend at the North Texas Comic Book Show

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Come visit the North Texas Comic Book Shows and meet new friends, like Captain America, Daniel Calhoun!

New year, new chances to let your nerd out; and there’s no place better to do that than this weekend at the North Texas Comic Book Show.

The North Texas Comic Book Show will run Jan 30-31 at the Doubletree Hotel Dallas Market Center, 2015 Market Center Blvd, Dallas, TX and is $10 to get it (kids 11 and under are free).

NTCBS has a cosplay contest that’s different than the norm. Instead of the standard contest where contestants model their costumes, NTCBS judges the contestants based on their ability to perform a skit as the character they are dressed as. After attending the last show, I can testify that this is so much fun to watch. These talented cosplayers really put a lot of thought and heart into their acts, it’s definitely a must see!

In addition to cosplay guests attending, there will be some legendary comic book artists as guests of the show. Amazing Spider-Man & Dr. Strange artist Randy Emberlin, and James O’Barr, creator of 12472265_623645841109179_5702962452941214434_nThe Crow, are a couple of the artists who will have tables at the show. Not to mention a very special four-legged hero – Tugg the Bull Terrier, will be in attendance both days providing many smiles.

As a large advocate for shows “by the fans and for the fans” I appreciate all NTCBS does to make this show truly one that fans will appreciate from beginning to end. I love toy and comic book hunting, and I’ve found some real treasures at this show. There are so many different local vendors and comic book artists; it really isn’t hard to find something really unique.

This show is a great size and allows a relaxing atmosphere while also having enough going on to keep attendees entertained. The local nerd community is so encouraging and supportive; it really is such a great time getting to spend the weekend with fellow nerds.

Cosplay Lip Sync Rocks at G33k3 Con

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a judge at the G33K3 con Cosplay Lip Sync Contest. It was a great opportunity to see cosplayers g33k3-web-logoin a whole new light.

Typically seeing a cosplayer fully embrace their character is a treat only seen during a cosplay contest, but G33k3 con gave cosplaying a whole new look with the lip sync contest. Over ten competitors entered and gave their best shot at winning the $50 cash prize.

Judging was a lot harder than I thought. With so many strong competitors it was really hard to only choose one. Some of the attributes I looked at to choose the winner were:

  1. Knowing the lyrics. I know this seems obvious but if someone doesn’t know all of the lyrics it makes it difficult to believe that they really know the song.
  2. Personality and crowd interaction. This is a big deal! In any sort of performance when someone is dealing with a live audience, it’s important to interact with them.
  3. Cosplay. I definitely looked at the accuracy and technique put into a cosplay and how it related to the song. Someone may know all the lyrics, but if you’re competing in a cosplay contest of any kind, costume is a large factor.

Keeping these factors in mind I was able to make a decision, even though it was very difficult! It was so much fun watching everyone compete and it makes me want to do it one day, too. I hope other conventions will join in with this fun idea, I think it would be a great idea for late night panels and activities.

‘Stan Lee’s Comikaze’ gets Comicrazy

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Stan Lee’s Comikaze Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, Los Angeles, California

I’ve only been to one out-of-state convention before Comikaze, while it was also in California, it was a very small show. Even then I realized how much of an eye-opening experience it is to go to a convention out of state. The premise is the same – a comic book convention full of cosplayers, vendors, and nerds alike who are attending to have a good time. But the dynamic is much different.

Comikaze had all of the elements of an amazing convention; from celebrities, a massive vendors room, extensive artist alley, and impressive convention center, I was destined to have an unforgettable experience. Held October 30-November 1 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Downtown LA, I was able to experience three days of full-throttle nerddom.

Immediately upon entering the convention center I was immersed in cosplay. In typical Friday fashion, I wore a more comfortable cosplay, saving my “bigger” ones for the more active days. At most Texas conventions I attend I see this as a common practice. However, California cosplayers consistently brought their best work every day.

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Me, Nicole Marie Jean, Krystle Starr

Attending an out-of-state convention is initially pretty intimidating, even when with good company. I was fortunate to have some really good friends in tow, including cosplayers Krystle Starr and Teno Stark. Without them, I most surely would have felt overwhelmed. I prepared myself for the situation that I may not know anyone else at the convention. Although, in a sense this was kind of an exciting feeling. At most Texas conventions I have a large community of people I know and recognize, and as much as I love that feeling and security, it’s kind of fun to go into unfamiliar territory and start fresh.

In reality, there were a lot of people at the convention I knew! And many who recognized us! Suddenly I felt much more at home and that magical feeling I get when I immerse myself in the convention spirit filled my heart. As cheesy as it sounds, there really is a feeling that comes with soaking up the convention energy!

Saturday was very similar to conventions I’ve attended in Texas. It was by far the day with the highest attendance. However, crowds were managed extremely effectively. There were plenty of open areas for photos and lounging, and in the tight halls of the dealer’s room crowds the pace was consistent so aisles didn’t get jammed.

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ACU and Jurassic Motorpool guys!

One of the coolest feelings was when I saw a cosplayer that I follow online. I didn’t realize I followed the progress of so many people from California; so getting the opportunity to meet them at a convention was beyond exciting.

A new member to the Jurassic Park Motorpool, a club of people who build and own Jurassic Park replica vehicles, I got to meet up with some of the California members. As a huge Jurassic Park nut my sixth sensewent off and I was able to find the crew pretty easily. Complete with full Asset Containment Unit costumes, the group of Motorpool members was easily some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I was officially inaugurated into the club.

The convention had a great flow, and despite the walk between halls being somewhat extensive, there was plenty of action happening everywhere I looked. There were two main halls, South Hall and West Hall. In South Hall there were movie replica cars, pieces from Phil Tippet’s studio, and an extensive set up of Cosplayers and prop builders.

The West Hall had the large vendors room, artist alley, and Stan Lee museum.

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Statues from the Marvel museum.

The vendor’s room had industries like Funimation and Hot Topic selling exclusive content, to vendors selling vintage action figures and themed apparel. With over 15 aisles of artist goodness, the artist alley was a bit overwhelming – but in the best way possible. I had the best time talking to artists and finding new ones to follow. Of course I had to get Jurassic World art and wound up with two really neat pieces.

The Stan Lee museum let me experience parts of Marvel I wasn’t as familiar with, and get a look at some of the most infamous pieces of Marvel Cinema. One of the most striking displays was the Avenger’s statuesetup. The Hulkbuster, the Hulk, Thor, and Captain America stood larger than life and were striking to see up close. There were a lot of iconic comic book covers and pages on display as well as a lot of figures modeled after each character as well as their different outfits. Additionally, there was a display of all the different Iron Man suits.

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One of my favorite cosplays. Top Gun!

I thoroughly enjoyed Stan Lee’s Comikaze. While it was a large convention, the layout of the exhibits allowed for easy flow and eliminated congested areas. There were many similarities to conventions I’ve attended in Texas; like thestandard setup of artist alley, vendor’s room, and celebrities, the typical fashion of a large after party the Saturday of the convention, and the warm welcome that comes with the cosplay community. I hope to attend more conventions out-of-state to further understand the community as a whole, and I can’t wait to go back to Comikaze!

Retropalooza Levels Up

12043064_702712249862590_7770464466187157134_nRetropalooza filled the Arlington Convention Center with elite gaming fanatics from all over the country. From free-to-play arcades and tabletop games, to industry led panels, there was something for every type of gamer. The convention had a rocket boost of attendance this year, spiking from 1200 attendees last year to 2000 this year.

There was so much I was excited to do and obviously playing games was at the top of the list. I started out my gaming adventure by jumping right onto the arcade and hopped games until my thumbs went numb. Let’s Play Gaming Expo had a bunch of console games set up and it was awesome! I watched some mad Guitar Hero skills and got to play some old school Megaman.

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Mad Max: Fury Road art by Devin Kraft of Cheshire Cat Studios

The vendor and artist venue had an awesome selection of video game dealers and extreme talent. A couple of my favorite artists I found included Shonuff Studios, Cheshire Cat Studios, and Jonathan Miller Art. Visiting with local artists and picking up new pieces for my print collection is one of the highlights for conventions for me. I always try to pick up something new!

Vendor wise there was a great selection of old media and new. I saw a lot of retro games for sale that totally brought me back to the days I would come home from school, plug in my N64, and challenge my sister to blind Pokemon Stadium battles. What’s a blind Pokemon Stadium battle? Well, to challenge our skills to the furthest extent as a true Pokemon Master we would close our eyes and randomly select our Pokemon, eliminating the option to choose any from the last row (since those were the legendary birds). Ah, good memories. Where the new games are concerned there were a lot of limited edition runs of current games and figures available for purchase. It was definitely dangerous territory for my bank account.

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

Me with MatPat (left) and Gaijin Goomba (right)

I was super stoked to meet the YouTube legend MatPat, who, as part of The Game Theorists, is an expert at overanalyzing video games in the most comedic and entertaining way. However, video games weren’t the only theory I wanted to ask Matt about. I needed to get some insight on his Jurassic World theory! He was quick to tell me that he’s working on his theory of all the types of DNA of which the Indominus Rex is made. We narrowed down the obvious choices of T-Rex, Velociraptor, and cuttlefish, and the rest is all theory.

Before I scampered off I had to get him to sign my 3DS – and he did, complete with a Jurassic Park reference! Additionally, I had the pleasure of meeting YouTube stars Andre Meadow of Black Nerd Comedy and Gaijin Goomba who both signed my 3DS too! Although I’m still trying to figure out what you call a blind dinosaur.

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Overall I had an amazing time roaming the convention and getting a more intimate look at the local gaming community. I hope Retropalooza will continue to grow and build the arcade even larger. The staff is professional, yet passionate, and with the “run by fans for fans” attitude, this convention has nothing but a great and growing future ahead. Retropalooza will be entering Houston in April 2016. See you there!

Retropalooza to bring gamers, internet personalities

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Celebrating the world of retro gaming, Retropalooza is hosting much more than a standard gaming convention. September 26-27 at the Arlington Convention Center, Retropalooza will gather gaming geeks from all over to bask in a sea of retro arcade and console games.

What sets Retropalooza apart from other gaming shows is that it’s a “by the fans for the fans” convention, meaning the content at the show is organic, true to what the fans want to see, and genuinely all about the games.

In addition to a free-play arcade complete with console gaming, there will also be a vendors room with over 100 tables ready to allow gamers to grab a piece of nostalgia they may not be able to find anywhere else. Got some video games you’d like to trade? Bring ’em!

Guest personalities include YouTube personality BlackNerd blacknerdcomedyComedy, Andre Meadows. From video game reviews to movie and TV show reviews, Andre is one of the funniest, most knowledgeable, and most genuine reviewers you’ll find.

ProJared is another YouTube personality who’s off the wall game reviews and gameplay are amazingly projaredhilarious. ProJared will tell it like it is and doesn’t hold back when it comes to making sure his audience knows how he really feels. Wondering if you should buy that video game or what indie games are “actually worth a damn”? ProJared’s the guy to ask.

Come out and enjoy a full weekend of video games, awesome panelists, great vendor lineup, and much more.

When: September 26-27

Where:

Arlington Convention Center

1200 Ballpark Way, Arlington, TX 76011

How Much: 

Advanced tickets:

$20 Saturday

$15 Sunday

$25 weekend

AnimeFest: A perfect convention

AnimeFest (Sept. 4-7, 2015) is easily one of, if not definitely, my favorite convention. Held at the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas (A-Kon’s old home), AnimeFest is what I consider to be a perfect convention.

A “perfect convention” is definitely personal preference and here is my (somewhat condensed) list of how I determine if a convention is “perfect”:

  1. Is it affordable
  2. Is it in a hotel or near a hotel thats easily accessible
  3. Are the events exciting/how is the dealers room, artist alley
  4. Does it have a good night life
  5. Is it well run, managed

AnimeFest is about average price wise (current rate for the weekend is $65), however while most conventions run for three days, AnimeFest runs for four. Paired with their special hotel rates, by convention standards the price is definitely affordable. The Sheraton, located in the heart of Downtown

Krystle Starr and I at AnimeFest 2014

Krystle Starr and I at AnimeFest 2014

Dallas, is spacious and with the addition of the skybridge that connects to the Westin hotel (complete with food court) allows guests large walkways and easily accessible food options. Additionally, I’ve had great success booking a room up until the last week before the convention, while many events have you hoping you’ll get lucky enough to grab a room.

AnimeFest hosts a large Dealer’s Room and an extensive Artist Alley (and in the past multiple Artist Alley locations). While the Dealer’s Room does require a badge to enter, the large range of vendors and products makes it worth it. The Artist Alley is open to the public and usually staffed until the late hours of the night, allowing guests to continue to shop past the Dealer’s Room hours. AnimeFest has a reputation of treating their artists and dealer’s well and accommodating special requests.

AnimeFest has brought in some large guests in the past, including Japanese rock sensation Flow, and typically has a strong panel schedule that includes famed voice actors in the Anime community. Additionally AnimeFest hosts a large cosplay contest that brings competitors from all over the country.

Fans line up to meet members of J-Rock sensation, Flow.

Fans line up to meet members of J-Rock sensation, Flow.

Fortunately since the convention is hosted inside a hotel, AnimeFest easily has an established nightlife, whether they plan any events or not. Typically some sort of masquerade or similarly themed ball is hosted one of the evenings. The other nights become host to midnight dances with DJs who play everything from current EDM to nostalgic remixes of video game soundtracks, and cartoon and anime theme songs.

Anytime I’ve ever had an issue at AnimeFest (which has been rare, but occasionally there’s a badge mix-up or small issue) it has been quickly and professionally resolved. The staff is well trained and mindful of the guests, and with a convention growing as rapidly as AnimeFest’s numbers has proven, keeping the convention running smoothly is no small feat.

Of course any convention will have it’s flaws, and by no means am I saying that AnimeFest will run without hiccups, but given it’s track record and my 5+ years of attendance, it is easily a convention I look forward to the most. I hope to see you there!

For more information about AnimeFest visit their website here.