Break the Con Down: GalaxyCon – Raleigh
Break the Con Down: GalaxyCon
Convention season is upon us! If you’re like me, you go to a few conventions a year and are always on the lookout to add more to the rotation and want to know which ones to avoid. It’s always the worst to travel out of the way, to attend a convention, only to find out that it doesn’t necessarily align with your interests or no one else showed up! On the flip side, almost nothing feels better than having a fantastic time making new friends and having an awesome time sharing the experience and your passions with others!
What’s in a breakdown?
For a Break the Con Down, we look at five distinct ideas that should help you determine whether or not a convention would be a great fit for you and your friends. Those five sections are Basic information (this includes stuff like location, cost, discounts available), what to do (Panels, things to do with friends, food options), What can I buy? (What kind of vendors can you except, are there vendors?), Who’s There (special guests, specialized vendors), and Don’t call this a comeback (growth, is it worth coming back to?)
Now let’s talk a look at a convention I recently attended, Galaxycon.
Galaxycon is an annual con that takes place at the Raleigh Convention Center, in Raleigh North Carolina. This four-day event is located in downtown and has an attached hotel for those who want to stay close to the event site. Tickets and passes go fast. Like real fast, generally, with four day passes and passes for Saturday selling out before the event. For this event, it would be advised to start planning for the convention a few months before hand. Being in downtown allows any attendees to transition into the nightlife scene for food and drinks, including a close by barcade or attend some of the local museums in the day before reaching the event. However, with the sheer amount of things to do at Galaxycon, one would be hard-pressed to leave the event! Turnout for this event was huge! I want to say over 20,000 people showed up for the convention.
What to do
I believe the more apt question would be: “What isn’t there to do at Galaxycon?” This convention is packed from start to end with things to do. In one five hour span I was able to attend a live wrestling match, watch a sketch comedy performance, a Q&A panel, a live comedy performance, and still had a dozen different things to choose from. This year, Galaxycon did a fantastic job of making sure attendees had something to do at the event. Panels, wrestling, Q&A panels, workshops, two different rooms screening movies and TV shows, a free play video game room, live comedy, sketch comedy, and even a free play board game area.
At any given time there was at least 12 different things to do. Hopping from event to event was really fun, and always made sure myself and the other attendees had something to do. Being able to have a variety of activities to choose from really helped create a feeling of cultivating your own specialized experience and really make your time at the event memorable.
What can I buy?
Personally, I feel one of the main strengths of Galaxycon is the ability to create an experience unique to you and the fandom you enjoy. Vendors at GalaxyCon offered convention-goers vintage toys, import video games, comic books, TV show collections, figures, board games. If you were interested in anything related to pop culture, you would be able to find a vendor at Galaxycon offering a piece of memorabilia you would have to have. However, I believe one of the biggest things that people were excited to purchase had its own side of the floor hall dedicated to it: meet and greets and photo ops.
Galaxycon provides of the most comprehensive and star-studded gathering of celebrities in the Mid-Atlantic region. Here are just a few people you could have met at this past Galaxycon, Barry Bostwick, Tim Curry, John Cusack, Felicia Day, George Takei, Wil Wheaton, Meat Loaf, Jonah Ray, Ron Perlman, Catherine Tate, and David Tennant. Those a just of few of the insanely talented performers from the big and small screen. Animation fans could meet Justin Briner, Tony Anselmo, Chris Sabat, Sean Schemmel, and Christy Carlson-Romano. Fans of the drawn page could meet over sixty different writers and artists that bring various comic book characters to life in between the paneled pages. Admirers of the competitors of the squared circle could meet some of the hottest acts in professional wrestling like Seth Rollins, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair, while being able to meet legends like Arn Anderson and Mick Foley.
You most likely recognize one of those names and the impact they have had on their receptive art-forms. Those in attendance could buy a photo op or autograph session to help make a memorable convention moment a possibility. This process was streamlined by grouping like stars together and seemed to operate smoothly. It was absolutely breathtaking to see so many people leave at the end of the night excited about a photo or autograph they got from their favorite star.
Don’t call it a Comeback
Simply put, Galaxycon is worth the trip. The overall event seemed to run pretty smoothly. I mentioned it earlier, but Galaxycon is the overall best “big convention” experience at its price point in the mid-Atlantic area. A trip to Galaxycon is worth it, plain and simple. I would recommend this convention to any fan of pop-culture, professional wrestling, comics, anime, and animation in general. Plan ahead, ticket sales for the next coming event are already on sale, so make sure to grab them early!
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Donald Paris is a contributing editor for The NES Page. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. His articles have also appeared on East Coast Games. His poetry has appeared in Calamus Journal, Cease, Cows, Eunoia Review, Public Pool, Rat’s Ass Review, Sonic Boom, The Camel Saloon, Other Journal, The Rising Phoenix Review, Uppagus, and Verse-Virtual. He is also one half of the podcast show The Rick and Don Show at rickanddon.com. He is currently a Watering Hole fellow.