This past weekend we had the opportunity to attend a local conventions second year event. We were able to attend last year and so were able to see how the event had grown. ZappCon, year 2, took a solid step into growing as an event we plan to attend for the foreseeable future.
It’s not a perfect event, but it did a good job of not trying to be too big too soon, and thus it can easily grow into an event to hold its own.
ZappCon took over one of the convention halls at the downtown Fresno convention center for an entire weekend of geeky fun. With a huge gaming area- with plenty of options available- and a larger exhibitor area, the convention easily increased their size without becoming an event that grew too quickly. The first thing we noted upon arriving is that at last years event, we could see through the aisles to the walls of the space. This year, there were many more exhibitors and artists, making it impossible to see the walls through the aisles.
Walking the main space, we overheard staff members sharing the attendance for the single day was greater than the attendance for last years event. Great to hear. The Fresno area had a semi-regular convention back in the 80’s but we couldn’t recall anything in the 90’s or more recently. Good to see a nerd event bringing in the fans.
One comment we had last year was that the major celeb guests were Power Rangers. Which didn’t thrill us. There were no Power Rangers to be found this year. Gigi Edgley, most notably of Farscape fame, was in attendance- and just lovely. A few voice actors were around as well- I would’ve enjoyed Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt, but I may be biased.
We did notice a few less local shops in attendance, as well as a few of the local artists we liked last year. Not sure why, seeing as the event was bigger with more fans in attendance. However, this did open the door to different vendors/exhibitors.
Another thing we like about ZappCon is that there are local organizations in attendance- in particular, Fresno Ideaworks. Fresno Ideaworks provides a community space resources to develop ideas. I understand they run maker faires and classes in different styles of creation, along with having a space for others to create. Love this.
The space outside was closed off for fight demonstrations and photo meet-ups. This was very nice as it opened the space inside to more vendors and exhibitors. Also, there is some art in that space that made for interesting backgrounds for some of the photos we saw being posed.
The upstairs contained more gaming rooms, panel spaces, and the area the costume contest occurred. We really liked that there were so many options for gaming. We saw several games being played that we hadn’t seen at some of the larger conventions we go to. Don’t ask me the names though… we were too amused to write any down!
We also enjoyed that The Doubleclicks were around to hang out in the main room and perform a concert. One of the things we enjoy at conventions is getting to hear new or nerdy bands. Of course, we know The Doubleclicks from other events but we were giddy to see that they were at this event in Fresno. We know some other nerdy bands/performers we’d be interested in seeing at future events. Just saying.
We liked that we knew several of the comic artists by name. Most of the people last year were less well known. I know a few other artists I’d like to see… but again, I might be biased.
Our favorite cosplayer had to be Master Chef. Hehehe.
All in all, we are looking forward to attending next year’s event.