Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium
October 17, 2009
Story and Photos by Mark Beenen (Coleman Trebor)

 

INTRODUCTION
Well, my hangover is finally gone so I can tell everyone about the 19th annual F.A.C.T.S. convention.

First let me explain what F.A.C.T.S. stands for:

Fantasy
Anime
Comics
Toys
Space

The show started out as a small convention in Belgium, where different retailers sold their merchandise at reduced prices. As the years passed by it became bigger and bigger, and after a couple of years the first actors popped up which really boosted the conventions popularity. Over the years we've seen the big ones like George Perez, Ray Park, Dirk Benedict, Anthony Daniels, David Carradine and many more, but also the smaller locals like Romano Molenaar, Carel Struycken, Lectrr and more! Today F.A.C.T.S. stands for the biggest and fastest growing convention of the Benelux and after years of expanding the organization decided it was time to move on to a bigger location, that location turned out to be the Flanders Expo in Ghent (Belgium).

This year the lineup of big artists and actors was greatly reduced at the last minute due to the cancelations of Loe Ferrigno, Marc Singer and Minck Oosterveer. Kevin Sorbo announced he could only be there on Saturday, the remaining artist included Christopher Judge, Leah Cairns, Simon Bisley and a lot more.

Saturday it opened up at 10:00 or 9:00 if you had an early bird ticket. Luckily I had a backstage pass so I could snoop around while the line was still forming. Looking at the line at 7:00, it appeared that a lot more people were visiting this year and were eager to get in. When the doors finally opened, the people in the crowd raced to the different stalls and stands to get the best items for the best prices. For the first time there was a big games corner where contests were held and were there was a playable demo of Assassin's Creed 2. A special stage was made for the cosplay events which seem to get bigger and more popular every year. Some fan sites even brought a life-size Snowspeeder, the Endor Bunker and a life-size Jabba the Hutt statue.

The merchandise that they were selling was pretty much the same and a bit older so if you were hunting for the newest collectibles (like me) it was a bit of a bummer. Saturday finished with an after party in a Mojito-Bar which I visited at around 24:00, and turned out to be mostly empty because most of the partygoers were already at the Hotel.

Sunday started and seemed a bit more relaxed but in the afternoon it appeared that there were almost as much visitors as the day before. In the end I went home with a Legendary Scale Galactus Bust, 8 comics, a replica of Cyclops shades and two Hard Hero X-Men Evolution Statues.

Looking back at F.A.C.T.S. it was a great weekend but it could have been a bit better if they dressed the convention up a bit to make it look more cozy and warm. They promised us more than 8000 square meters of Comics, collectibles and merchandise and they lived up to it. Every year Star Wars is the main thing hear and this year was no different Star Wars in Europe is still hot. The whole event completed its cyclus of getting more visitors every year. This year a whopping 17,000 visitors showed up and they all left with a great experience behind them. If you ever want to visit Belgium, this is the thing you should be gunning for!

Coleman Trebor signing off!

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 39 photos click here.