First Impressions, Venue, and Logistics
When I heard that St. Louis was getting a Wizard World convention I knew that I had to cover it for Funnybooks. This was by far the largest comic book convention that St. Louis has hosted to date in regards to size and attendance. Over the course of this week on the site I will be posting my coverage of this event with a new focus each day. The short summery though is that the convention was a huge success with a very good turnout and they have just announced that it will return next year on April 4-6.
This was my first time attending a convention at the America’s Center. Wizard World St. Louis took up most of the first floor and the official after party took up a large section of the upper floor. The venue has large open foyers outside of the vendor hall and event rooms so there was always a place to go if you were feeling crowded. Restrooms were available both inside the dealer room and throughout the venue.
Upon arrival I was met with a very long line in the hall. I assumed that this was for people who still needed to get their tickets and continued on to the press booth. This was the first thing that I will note that is different than any other convention I have attended. They did not use the standard lanyards and badges that most conventions use, but instead used wristbands for access. Since the convention was three days I was concerned about the band holding up, but it was a sturdy material that didn’t seem to mind getting wet.
After getting my wristband I discovered that the long line was actually for people who already had their bands and needed access to the floor. Thankfully the line moved very quickly. Attendees only needed to hold up their arms to display the armbands for access to the hall. I was wearing a hoodie that continued to fall over my band, but I noticed that the vendor hall was the only place that they were checked. No one looked for the bands when going to panels or other anything in the event rooms. While I had initial concerns about the wristbands and having to wear it for three days the method did seem to allow for rapid entry to and from the main hall.
Like most large conventions the largest area was taken up by the Vendor Hall. This area contained all the dealers, celebrity guests, artist alley, and even a stage for cosplayers to take pictures on. Tomorrow I will go into more details about the Vendor Hall and Artist Alley. One thing I do want to mention though is something I have never seen at a convention before. As soon as you entered the Vender hall there was a section of couches and chairs for sitting. Anyone who attends conventions knows that walking is one of the worst parts of a convention and by the end of the day your feet end up hurting. I found this area to be very helpful for taking small breaks, looking through the calendar of events, and socializing with fellow attendees. It is something that more conventions should look into providing.