We are less than two months out from Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest 2016 (57 to be exact, as of posting) and there’s not much happening on the news front for the con. With that said, I wanted to share some ideas that I thought would be nice with the location change of Fan Fest. If you’re not aware, the third year con will be moving from the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale to the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix. The date is also changing as the con was held in December for the first two years, now it’s right before Halloween.
On to the list!
One of the most attractive features of Fan Fest being held at the University of Phoenix Stadium was the massive amount of FREE parking. If you’ve attended Phoenix Comicon in downtown, you know how high some of the prices for parking can get. However, something interesting happened recently. Saboten Con, an anime con that made a similar move from Glendale (with free parking) to Downtown Phoenix, announced that they have secured free parking for attendees. While we can agree it’s not really free and it’s just rolled into the cost of your attendee badge, it’s a great gesture from a con who moved away from a facility with free parking to another that didn’t offer free parking.
Surely a convention with more attendees and deeper pockets could do the same? There will be no sporting events in Downtown Phoenix that weekend, with a concert both nights that don’t start well into the evening, after a big chunk of attendees have left for the day. Logistically it could be an issue, they’d probably have to secure two parking garages but hey, we can wish right?
3rd Street Closed
While having the portion of 3rd Street in front of the convention center closed off is normal for Phoenix Comicon, no word yet if it will be happening for Fan Fest. One of the things the con does to keep itself a little different from Comicon is says it’s “more interactive”. At previous Fan Fests, the outside area offered inflatable bounce houses, a stage for cosplay meetups, and other features that attendees go participate in. While the weather in October isn’t as nice as it is in December, it isn’t a million degrees either. Let’s close off the street like they do for Comicon and make sure all those interactive features that were offered in Glendale make the move to Downtown Phoenix.
Keep It Themed
As mentioned previously, Fan Fest has been held in December the first two years and a lot of the holiday season was sprinkled into the convention. With Halloween a little over a week after Fan Fest, I hope the con embraces the Halloween spirit. While it doesn’t need be a Halloween con (that’s the month prior in September) maybe a Halloween themed backdrop for guest photo ops or a haunted house, or even a how to draw monsters panel. It doesn’t need to dominate the con but I hope it is embraced.
My biggest wonder is if Phoenix Comicon and Fan Fest will lose some of the identifiers that made them different. Obviously the size will never be the same but it’s to hard imagine that many of the local vendors, costuming groups, and artists will be any different between the two shows. What can I buy or see among the vendors and artists that I couldn’t buy four months ago at Comicon? The media guests for Fan Fest are suppose to be smaller in popularity guests but you could argue that 90% of the guests from Comicon this past June qualified as Fan Fest guests. It will be really interesting to see how the organizers plan on keeping Fan Fest its own unique con so soon after their main con.