Con Report by Pagadan
by Joy V. Smith
I learned about PariahCon, a local con focusing on anime and gaming, in the Southern Fandom Confederation Bulletin. While I'm not interested in either, it was in Lakeland, and I had accumulated a lot of freebies (books, magazines, fanzines, etc.) to donate. I went there Saturday morning [June 11, 2011] and registered. The registration tables were well set up, being divided into a pre-registration table with alphabetical lines and an on-site registration table. The registration tables were busy, but my sister and I were processed promptly and we got our badges immediately. It was $25.00 per person for the weekend. Good deal, I thought. Then I dropped off my freebies and browsed. (Apparently attendees here aren't aware of freebie tables so I made little signs on the spot and mentioned it to everyone I passed or met in the elevators.)
The con ran June 10-11, starting on Friday afternoon, but there was also a MegaRan concert Sunday. This was PariahCon's first year, but they had multiple tracks, including gaming, panels, and workshops. Guests included voice actors from anime shows. They had tournaments and some events I'm not familiar with, plus costume contests. I didn't stay for the afternoon contest, but I saw some great costumes roaming the halls. And there had been a Miss Pokemon contest Friday afternoon.
I talked to the Dealers Director, and he said that they were pleased with the numbers and expected even more people later. He was happy since it was their first con; they got a lot of publicity by word of mouth with attendees from coast to coast and from north and south Florida, including Miami. The kids--and everyone--are having fun, he said, and there were no major issues or complaints. I noticed a lot of staff badges, and there were always people who could answer my questions, 'cause I had to track down the freebie tables. And the attendees I saw were enthusiastic and often ran into friends, which is usually the case at cons.
I checked out the dealers room and took the long trek to Artist Alley, which was very warm; they were hoping for coolness. I hope they got it. I bought some anime stickers at one of the artist's booths, even though I have no idea who the characters are. The dealer wasn't there, so the people at the next booth and I tried to figure out what the prices were (sticker prices varied by size), and I gave them the money.
Most everything was located on the 7th floor, except for registration (4th floor), and Artist Alley (5th floor); and I think gaming was on another floor. However, all the locations were posted in the elevators, which was helpful. And there were lots of signs.
Gaming and anime are completely different worlds from books and authors--which is what I'm used to, but the dealers room had a nice selection of graphic novels, DVDs, games, anime items, and costume accessories (I assumed). I thought it was a fantastic first con, and the convention guide book--with cover art--and schedule sheet were well laid out. Of course, I picked up a number of flyers and cards. Lots of websites and fun things for anime enthusiasts. I hope they have more cons like this one because there were a lot of fun opportunities there for fans.