This year we decided to check out the Lexington Comic and Toy Con. This was our first con and we were excited, but had no idea what to expect. My son Jase (4 years old), dressed as Ash from Pokemon, the wife and I went without cosplay.
We skipped the Friday night session and went on Saturday morning. I was granted a press pass, but we had to buy a two day pass for Tracy ($60), and Jase was free. The event was held at the Lexington Convention Center in Lexington, KY. Parking was not terrible, but did cost $10 to park in the lot across the street from the main entrance. The line to buy tickets was a little bit if a wait, so I would definitely buy ahead, which save some money as well, as her ticket would have been $50 online.
We made our way in and through the press booth, finally making it to the con floor itself. The con was set up on all three floors on the centre. The number of people attending this event was astonishing. 2017 was around twenty five thousand. We have not yet heard a number for this year, but I guess higher. The number of cosplayers was also surprising. We spent the first day wondering the halls and floors, meeting people and photographing cosplayers, families, and st one of the props on display.
Sunday arrival was smooth and easy, walking straight in with no wait. The crowd seemed a little larger on Sunday, but the number of people in cosplay was lower, but still impressive. The costume contest was held on Saturday evening, which I am sure played into this. We spent Sunday wandering through the two exhibitor floors, as well as the celebrity area and shops. A lot more people seemed to be shopping on Sunday as well. The worst thing we faced was on Sunday as well, with the majority of the escalators being out of service, forcing everyone to use only the small stairs in between the escalators, which created a major bottleneck when trying to move around. This is of course on the convention center itself, and says nothing bad about the Con.
Overall the entire experience was amazing, and I could not recommend it higher. I will discuss some things in a little more detail.
Security. This was one of my major concerns. People suck, so security is necessary. The signage stated that you would be wanded with metal detectors, as well as have your bags searched. When we walked into the main entrance we were not searched or passed through metal detectors. We were in the venue for over two hours before we passed through a security checkpoint. The security was only set up around the celebrity and exhibitor areas. This surprised me, as I figured the entire venue would be secure. Regardless, security was not of any concern.
Crowd. Speaking of the number of people, this con was packed out. There was long lines for everything inside the venue, and you were never more than a few inches from another person. As I mentioned earlier, by Sunday, almost all of the escalators were down and that was really backing up the flow of people. Highly advised to travel light at this con. We had our gear stowed in one bag, and that felt like a lot. Of course most people are carrying tons of expensive gear I understand, but still. I like some space. Just plan of standing in line and being patient with nowhere to sit down and you will be fine. The entire cosplay community, who of this was my first encounter, are some of the most open, laid back, and welcoming groups I have worked with. The experience has made me want to seek out this group to work with in the future. If any readers met us during the con, reach out to us with any questions or needs you have, we would be happy to work with you again.
The people. I have traveled pretty far and wide, covering different kinds of events, people, and situations. I have been among such a group of polite and accepting people in my life. Being a photographer and constantly “trying to get the shot”, I usually displease at least a few people everywhere we go, unintentionally of course. The only person I yelled at was a slight bit of road rage trying to leave the parking area (I hate when people let other people go, they had their turn), but I digress. Nicest people ever. Ever person I stopped for a photo or interview was as pleasant as you could imagine, even the ones who declined. I have never been to any event like this, and I felt like I knew everyone there. It was actually a little moving seeing so many people crammed together and getting along so well.
All in all I could not recommend this con enough. From the event staff, the guests, exhibitors, cosplayers, down to the crowds of fans and enthusiasts, it was a great experience. Personally I can not wait until next March till it all happens again, as we can not wait to go back!