Fandemic Tour- Sacramento, a first stop of fun

16 Jul

Recently, we had the pleasure of checking out the first stop on the Fandemic Tour, with a quick trip up to Sacramento to help inaugurate a new convention. Overall, it was quite an enjoyable convention and it is recommended to check out if a stop happens to be near you. Though as it was the first event, there are a few things that could be improved. We’ll touch on the good and bad in a bit.

Initially, I wanted to check out this convention because it was local-ish (2.5 hours by car from the new NerdLush base) and our local events are few and far between. Or they die after a year or three. ZappCon, a show in Fresno announced recently that they have closed up shop and won’t be doing another convention. The Tulare Sci Fi Con hasn’t had a convention since 2015, but their website continues to say they’ll be back “next year” (it is actually updated, so we think they are still trying…). But everything else in the Valley is small or a single day event. So the idea of a new event, that was trying to do a multi-day convention in its first year, that was day trip distance, was intriguing.

Then there were the guests that were enticing- Christian Kane, Robert Englund, cast members from The Walking Dead and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the usual grouping of representatives from the wrestling world and a Power Ranger, and John Schneider and Tom Welling! Hell, screw the rest sign me up for Tom Welling time! But alas, it was not to be and Welling cancelled just days before the convention. Oh well. Still, for a first time event Fandemic Tour- Sacramento, had a pretty good line-up on tap.

As luck would have it though we were initially interested we didn’t snag tickets but were able to attend and check it out. However, the usual NerdLush conspirators were unavailable so instead… Ellie, a convention virgin, came along for the ride. Making the trek a bit of bonus fun devirginizing her at a virgin convention (snort/giggle).

The event had a good sized space being used for the autograph area, the professional photograph area, artists’ alley, and the dealer room. Which was good because it made it easier to find everything and remember any booths you wanted to come back to later. It also made it easy to keep an eye on the tables for the guests- in case the person you were interested in wasn’t there, you could see the tables pretty easily for when they returned. The one complaint for the autograph area was that it wasn’t posted if photos were allowed in certain areas or not- for instance, I’ve been to numerous events with Bruce Campbell in attendance and it is always posted that there are no pictures allowed; this was not true here but apparently no pictures were allowed. Posted signs means no confusion! Oh, and it did seem a little lax on guests being where their signs said they would be. We tried to stop by and say hello to one guest but she was never at her table, even after we checked her schedule and came back during scheduled autograph times. That was a little frustrating as a fan.

There were several booths containing the usual Funko Pops and pop culture nerdery, but also numerous artists selling their wares. A nice piece regarding this was that there were some larger named booths but also a lot of local artists. Big fan of seeing what the little guy has been creating. A frustrating piece for me was that so many of the booths- artist and vendor- fail at upselling. Very few people attempted to get our attention or sell us their merchandise. I know it’s a tough job but as an attendee I am more likely to keep walking past a booth if the person behind the table looks bored. This isn’t a commentary on the convention, just something I’ve noticed. I do appreciate not being hounded by salespeople but some of the artists would definitely do better if they didn’t look afraid to talk to fans.

A very smart move of the convention was that it didn’t try to spread itself too thin. For example, there were two spaces for panels. One large space was the main stage, which housed the Q & A panels with the guests. The second, smaller room was utilized for more topic related panels. Due to the short time of our visit, we only attended one panel, the John Schneider Q&A. We would have liked to check out The Walking Dead panel or even the Robert Englund Q&A but time was short. The important part is that if you have a chance to catch a panel with Schneider, do it. The man has a self-deprecating humor and is full of charm. He shared some great stories about Dukes of Hazzard and Smallville. I got the impression he really wanted to talk more about The Have and Have Nots, but not too many in the crowd were familiar with it. But he did pimp the hell out of John Schneider Studios and their many projects. As well as his recent musical works. One thing I really appreciated about the main stage was that at the beginning of the panel, several rules were laid out- 1 question per person, don’t make requests (for like hugs and stuff), no flash photography. Unfortunately, every rule was broken and there were no repercussions. I would have loved to have a staff member at the question microphone and have them turn it off after the question was asked so that the person didn’t monopolize for a conversation that would be more appropriate at the autograph table… sigh. I guess that it wasn’t a big enough crowd in the room for this to be an annoyance to anyone else but I think that some people would’ve gotten up to ask questions if others hadn’t hogged the moment. Just a small commentary for next time.

Sacramento is no stranger to conventions, but it was still nice to see a decent turn out of cosplayers for a first time event. My personal favorite was from Up, however after complementing the man we discovered he’d broken the NerdLush cosplay rules as he was unable to sit, wasn’t really comfortable, and someone else had carry his things. Still looked good. And you’ve gotta love a Deadpool cosplayer that sees an opportunity to look like he’s about to get eaten by a giant shark and runs with it (i.e. poses in front of a standee for The Meg).

I am sure you’re all curious about what enticed us out of our cash- Funkos. Seriously. Within 5 minutes of walking in, I had spotted the Smallville Clark Kent in the field one and had to have it. Before the end of the day, I had completed the Smallville set and picked up a Blue from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Ellie fared better in that she managed to get gifts for her family before being enticed for herself, but she still ended up with some Stranger Things Funkos, some art, a Doctor Who wallet, knives, and a Wonder Woman backpack for herself. Oh, and there was a booth for Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Pop Co. that seduced me. And lordy, the mug is so awesome, it has become my new favorite for cold beverages! Highly recommend the orange soda, if you like that sort of thing

All in all a worthwhile event and hopefully we’ll be able to check it out again next time the tour heads out this way. Hopefully for more than just a day trip, too. There were some events on the other days that I would’ve liked to check out but our schedule didn’t make it possible. And for the record, Ellie reported having a great time and is making plans for her next convention.

Full album of photos… honestly they are mostly of John Schneider’s panel… 

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