This last year I spent attending, vending, and guest starring at several conventions in Kentucky and Tennessee. They have ranged from horror, fandom, anime, comic, toy, paranormal, and gaming. They were all enjoyable in their own way but there were a few that I felt pulled off a wonderful convention. So, I have decided to list my "Top Five Conventions in Kentucky and Tennessee for 2012>"
The criteria that they were judged by was the following:
- Overall organization- was the event organized and did the volunteers know what they were doing. Were there not a lot of issues and were they helpful to fans and stars alike- not one of the other.
- Overall friendliness and welcoming to everyone and didn't brush off problems but solved issues within reason and ability
- Great variety of stars- not necessarily big names but not the same ones everyyear or the same "type"
- Extra events other than the vending room that were fun and organized
- Fun and welcoming attendees
- Prices- hotels, tickets, events. (Cons can not control autograph pricing- this is the star and agent)
- Great location- event, hotel, food
- Variety of vendors
So looking at all of these here is how I ranked the Top 5 with a few honorable mentions:
- MTAC- Middle Tennessee Anime Convention, Nashville, Tenn. This convention was not a convention that I was planning on attending but simply stumbled upon when I couldn't get into another convention in the area that "lost" my information according to the female at the front desk. When I approached the press staff, they were very organized and under 5 minutes I had press passes, a schedule and map. The cost to get in to the 3 day event was approximately $30. This event received a 5 out of 5 rating for all the items listed above. It was very large and very well organized. 5 stars
- Fright Night and Fandom Fest, Louisville, KY. This convention was very large and had a great change of venue and hotel. They ranked five out of five stars for great stars, vendors, friendly staff, location, prices and attendees. The two problem was organization because I think that the event became bigger than expected and the amount of stars and the friendliness of stars was awesome. I spoke face to face in the hallways to well over a dozen who walked up to stars and just had fun. There were also a few problems with rude volunteers but that was taken care of later that evening. Over all this was a great convention! 4.5 stars
- Geek Media Expo, Franklin, Tenn. This convention is the sister convention to our number one pick on this list. This is a smaller version of the larger con in the fall. The problem to this con was not as much variety of stars and activities and the dealer room needs to be bigger. The panels were great as well as the organization and the volunteers. Top notch. The fans were fun but the food selection in the hotel and around was less than desireable. But overall I would recommend. 4.25
- Dead Winter Horror Con, London, KY. This one was a great and welcome surprise. They had medium and large stars but they were all approachable. The price was great and the variety of vendors were good but the only thing is that there needed to be more. which according to the website is improved this year. There were great after hour events for the paranormal, music for the music lovers, and movie viewings. But, the best part of the convention was the organizers and the fans! They made you feel like you were an A star even if you were just there to say hey. They have moved to a bigger and more state of the art location after their first year! So, this is definitely a convention to be watched. 4 stars.
- Lexington Comic and Toy Con. This one was a one day con that is now a two day convention that is adding additional events. So, what we saw were problems have been addressed thus far. There were not a variety of stars but this year it has been addressed. The vendor room is not bigger from last year and the prices are cheap for attendees and vendors! This was a first year convention who was twice as successful as they anticipated and have taken all that was a little "rough" and has promised to fix it for this year. This is the BEST family event in the area. It is great for small kids and us big kids alike. And the second year is looking to make keep it in the top five spot. 4
We also attended other conventions and expos and here are the honorable mentions:
- Yama- Con, Pigeon Forge, Tenn. This was a great first year anime convention that is getting a larger venue and more stars next year. It was the highly organized and had to have the most excited attendees that I have seen. The problem was that there was not a great variety of vendors, stars were not labeled, and the area was just small. Another example of a first year con that became bigger than the organizers. I do recommend this convention. It is reasonably priced and the town was great!
- ConCave, Bowling Green, KY. Concave is different than the other conventions listed here. It is a relaxacon. Which means no stars and organized events but lots of gaming, partying, food and drinking. Basically it's been a great gaming party for 35 years now. It is the longest running event and it really perfect for the price. $30 all you can eat and drink for three days- 24 hours per day with movie viewing rooms, vendor rooms and more.
- Forge, Lexington, KY. It was a great could be great gaming convention but after the first and only year it was given up on. The gaming was fun but just not enough attendees.
- ScareFest, Lexington, KY. This one is hard, even though I am friends with the owner, I admit that it was my least favorite of the year. It is overpriced for a three day pass as well as vendor tables. The stars were not that great, this isn't counting the stars that cancelled but the quality of stars the last few years have been lacking as compared to other local events. The good things this year were the panels, no matter what one you went to it was full and there was a variety for all. But other than vending or panels there was nothing else to do throughout the day. This is to be remedied because they are adding a table top and live action role playing track as well. The evening events were a V.I.P. party, if you paid for the tickets and they were limited so most couldn't attend, a costume party that the venue was rude and terrible and from my understanding a newer and better venue is coming. This convention has been on top and hopefully will be back on top this year.
If you would like for me to attend your event please email here. Stay tuned for my next article about the top conventions coming in 2013.