The first Fandom Fest I ever went to was in 2011. For all I know, it was the first one. We who survived it now refer to it as SweatFest. The authors were — literally — put in the sauna. Hot as hell. All the authors who brought chocolate to tempt potential buyers to their tables had chocolate soup. At least one author had to go home, because her medicine’s cold pack was no match for the intense, damp heat of our location. But I got a good story out of it.
Every year after that, it was some damn thing or other. The Literary Track wasn’t on the app. Or the information was wrong, and people who wanted to attend the panels couldn’t find them. Even last year, which was damned near perfect, there was an $8 charge for parking. Or, indeed, for bringing somebody and dropping them off.
This year? This year, the venue was changed about two weeks before the event. We were expecting to be in the beautiful fairgrounds near the airport, where we were last year. We were moved to — wait for it — an abandoned Macy’s store in a mall on the outskirts of Louisville. Over half the celebrities pulled out; I mean, would you want to put “abandoned Macy’s store” on your resume of personal appearances?
Oh, did you reserve a room near the fairgrounds and fly in for the event to find you have to find a way to some damn mall? Sucks to be you. Oh, did you pay big bucks for your whole family to have a photo op with your favorite actor/actress? Sorry, no refunds. Right. No refunds.
They DID get the air conditioning working the night before the event opened. Also: got the water turned on. Cleaned the bathrooms? Eh, not so much. Not before, not during, and probably not after.
HOWEVER, Stephen Zimmer, who has nothing whatsoever to do with the event itself but runs the Literary Track of it, not only had all his ducks in a row, he kept them in a row, even when the event disorganizers tossed curve balls at them. He made sure we had specified places for our panels and that we and any interested attendees all knew where those were. So, even though we weren’t in rooms, but were in open areas of the store, we knew where we were. Even though the disorganizers provided no covers for the raw plywood tables, we had panels, by God, and people came, and we all enjoyed them.
In fact, all of us who showed up and stayed had a blast. We were all in it together, and there was a sense of camaraderie that energized us all.
And the costumes were great! People come to some events just for the cosplay, which means they dress up like recognizable people/characters and walk around having their pictures taken. Some people just throw something together, and that’s fun. Some people work very hard to achieve their look, and that’s amazing.
First, here’s a purty picture of what the mall outside the Hell-pit looked like. Bee-you-tee-ful. Spotlessly clean, with bathrooms that worked and ran clear water and a SUPER food court.
The first gallery shows some costumes. The second shows some vehicles.
I saved my favorite cosplay for last. Did I chase this guy down the hall so I could get a photo? You’d better believe it!
Will we ever do Fandom Fest again?
I doubt it. Srsly.
I’m posting today at Fatal Foodies about a pretty good mess Charlie made for lunch.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Who would your main character chase down the hall for a picture?