Story and Photos by Tyler Bedard
We arrived around 11 am Saturday morning, 1 hour after opening, hoping to avoid the opening line-ups. Instead we were told “due to Fire Marshal’s orders” security was not to allow any more people in regardless if they had tickets already or not. We did not, but I did remember to bring my Press Pass from the previous year. So like a Jedi with a wave of my hand we were allowed admittance.
Once inside you could understand why they had stopped letting people in. The line-up for tickets was around the entire first level and the exhibitor hall was packed. After lining up to get inside the exhibitor hall we headed straight to the autograph area to snap a few pics of the celebrities in attendance. I soon realized this was not going to be an easy task for me. That’s when I realized I had another secret weapon in my artillery. My 12 year old son. He was able to get places I couldn’t as an adult and everyone was more willing to make way for him to take pictures. So with my camera man beside me off we went.
I found there was actually less Sci-Fi content than in other years. Particularly in Star Wars related merchandise. So we concentrated more on the gaming aspect. There were a few new games but no real developments in the gaming industry. The real attraction this year was the movie related stuff. The cast of Stan Helsing was there (Leslie Neilson) as well as celebrities like Mel Brooks, Art Hindle and the actor who played Jigsaw in the Saw movies, to name a few. Looking back I wish I’d taken the time to take in some of the B rated horror screenings they had there. Maybe next year when my wife a kids aren’t in tow. I think they have grown tired of it.
The 501st had their booth set up in the usual place just outside the exhibition hall. Anthony Forest was there signing autographs. They also had their regular Star Wars events - Kids Hour, Prop Making, Fan Movies, Chad Vader, Collector’s Hour - which I’ve covered in past years.
Their Droid Hunt, where costumed 501st track down and collect lanyards they’ve passed out earlier in the day, was not as successful as in previous years due to the crowds. They were asked to stay out of the exhibition hall to prevent more crowding from people trying to take pictures of them inside the hall. This dampened the spirit of the hunt as this is where the majority of the people are. All 5 in my family walked away with their lanyards when we were done.
So all in all it was a great success for the event organizers. However I feel bad for those who were denied entry (or at least delayed for an hour or so) as well as those like myself who do not enjoy squeezing through crowds. I’m glad my children were old enough this year to take care of themselves as this was not the year to bring young children. Hopefully next year they will either expand to other halls or another venue.