Florida Supercon (Miami Beach, FL) was held much earlier this year. It relinquished its traditional July 4th weekend dates for the last week in June, probably to avoid being held to close to San Diego Comic-Con. Turnout was good but felt a little lighter than last year. The dealer room was not should-to-shoulder and there were long stretches when the dealer room was noticeably empty. The word around the dealer room was that vendor sales were down double digits versus year ago. I noticed a significant dip in my sales. However, Supercon is still a very good show with great fans and wonderful cosplayers.
METROCON in Tampa, FL expanded to a 4-day event this year. Attendance appeared slightly better this year since they scheduled the dates ahead of Florida Supercon. Sales were steady, if not a bit slow, all four days but the dealer room didn’t have a lot of energy. There were a few fabulous costumes but not too many fans went all out.
Hatsume Fair at Morikami Gardens in Delray Beach, FL moved to April this year. Bad move. Morikami likes to hold the Japanese spring festival one week after MegaCon. But MegaCon moved to April in 2015 and Hatsume maintained their operus mondi. There was one tiny problem, Hatsume is held outdoors and temperatures hit 90°. Even though vendors are located under a tent (where it was only 85°) the artists and activities were outdoors. Attendees were wilting under the scorching sun.
Out the corner of my eye, I saw a young girl lying next to my booth with her head in her mother’s lap. Luckily I brought a battery operated fan and immediately positioned it to blow air on the girl. After giving her some bottled water she was eventually able to get up and walk. My fan was worth its weight in gold because I needed to extend that curtesy to several attendees. Here’s hoping that Morikami moves the Fair back to March in 2016.
Pensacon Pensacola Comic Con (pensacon.com) has turned into the one of the hottest cons in just two short years. While approximately 11,000 attendees participated in its inaugural year and 22,000 dropped in on the convention this year. A full report can be found here: http://850me.com/2015/03/13/pensacon-2015-by-the-numbers/.
The dealer room is located in the Pensacola Bay Center, home of the Pensacola Ice flyers (pensacolabaycenter.com/teams/detail/pensacola-ice-flyers). From the moment the dealer room opened, I was busy, busy, busy. I brought twice as much inventory (renting a U-haul trailer) this year and still ran out of my best selling items midway through Saturday. The crowd was so big they kept closing down the dealer room floor (must keep the Fire Marshall happy). Because the dealer room is located on the ice rink (sans ice), the organizers had attendees fill the stadium seats. As people exited the floor, the staff gave the green light to different sections to walk down the steps to the rink. The number of fans shopping for plushies, figures, hats, key chains, artwork and other stuff was crazy fun for vendors.
On Sunday they announced the dates for next year, February 19 – 21, 2016 with Darth Vader (David Prowse) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as the first officially confirmed guests. Not surprisingly, V.I.P passes for next year’s convention sold out the same day they went on sale. Bigger crowds on Saturday seem impossible given capacity was maxed out but fans weren’t turned away at the door on Friday or Sunday. However, I have a feeling that may change next year. I can’t wait and I’ve already started purchasing some exclusive items just for Pensacon.
Shock Pop Comic Con, the latest newcomer to the Miami/Fort Lauderdale anime and comic convention scene, held its debut at the Fort Lauderdale convention center. Regrettably, it didn’t make a big splash. On each day vendors had an unobstructed view from one end of the dealer room floor to the other side with not one customer in sight. No need to hope for a better show next year. The show and promoters have faded into the sunset.