I have never been to this part of the convention/building. As a result, I was quite curious and excited about what was located there. The North Concourse leading to the building had a different appeal to it. Other than the fact that it was literally a tunnel, it had bright red walls that caught ones’ eye, while fitting the color scheme of the event. Opposite of the wall there are large windows with a view of the outside, and one can see random cosplayers running about. Looking above, there were signs hanging along the ceiling with a variety of phrases that related to the atmosphere of the convention. While walking, there was an exhibitor stationed in this location with Iron Man movie props for an auction. Moving onward, there were empty booths and one had a table with chairs occupied by attendees.
Once I passed the last threshold, I entered this grand white metallic narrow room. Even though the area is much smaller than the show floor, it was packed and lively. However, it was more breathable than the show floor. Because the area was not as congested, one had to opportunity to engage in activities, such as photo ops with movie prop vehicles. Waiting in long lines was more comfortable to do than on the show floor. Also, this was the area where the little ones can do kids activity, such as BeyBlade and Costume Contest. Adults can experience Red Tails, a flight simulator, or participate in Magic the Gathering.
Although it was a spacious location, the autograph area was a conglomerate function. Last year’s autograph area was less of an eye sore. Since a number of fans were lining up it made sense to place this towards the back of the North Pavilion. However, it looked like there was not enough room to stand in line and some of the different lines merged together. The distance from each autograph table to the end of the rods, with the black curtain/skirt, was not long enough to prevent the end of the different lines from mixing together. Last year, they had people standing in front of each row to inform fans where to pay for the autographs, or simply inform people about photography rules. This year, there was one person holding up a sign that said “Line Ends Here,” while another line's behind was facing her. In regards to celebrity photography preferences, there were signs, but they were SMALL and not visible. How are people supposed to see the small signs and know about this?? This is an activity that needs to be improved upon if it is planning to stay in this location for the next convention.
Overall, I enjoyed the additional space. It provided more opportunities for additional activities, such as the Costume Contest, and a space to use for reorganizing. It is the right area for activities that requires one to sit or stand in place for a long time, such as Magic the Gathering and Autograph signings. It provides space for such situations that would be less than comfortable in the already crowded show floor. Plus, I can sit at the tables here instead of sitting on the dirty show floor rug. I hope that this building will be of use again in next year's convention.
© 2011 Linda Thai
Photography by Linda Thai
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