Awesome Con Explodes in Its Second Year
This past weekend saw Awesome Con descend upon the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, bringing pop entertainment to the masses over Easter weekend. And what a difference a year makes. I went to 2013’s inaugural show, which was rather sparse in size, attendance and attractions. Well, in their second year, the show exploded, experiencing some growth issues, but overall, it was beyond a success. Though official numbers are still yet to be released, we’ve been told by convention officials, attendance was somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000. That compares to the first year’s 7,000 to 8,000 attendees. That’s some impressive growth for an area that boasts a solid geek community hidden among among all the politicos. I personally also think it was impressive as the DC area tends to empty out during holiday weekends, so to see that many people there was a pleasant surprise.
That surge in attendance did cause issues on Saturday which saw lines wrap around the convention center as it took hours for individuals to get their tickets to get in. That was the one negative, and it’s an easy thing to fix for next year’s show. Still, 15,000 people descending on a space at the same time, there are going to be some issues. Friday, and early and late Saturday saw no issues for tickets. Sunday there didn’t seem to be any issues either, though I wasn’t paying attention to that.
The convention took place at the Washington, DC convention center, a fantastic facility ranked as one of the best in the United States. The show took full advantage of the numerous levels, preventing over crowding and decreasing movement issues. At times it felt like a video game, moving throughout the floors to get where you needed to. Everything this year was bigger, brighter, and just… more! More guests, more publishers, more dealers, more artists, more panels, everything was amped up for this show.
Much like 2013, the 2014 convention featured numerous dealers, a game room, a video game room, and celebrities that were willing to snap photos for a price. But, that more also expanded into one of the large convention halls, which helped the show feature wide aisles for the crowds to walk up and down, and stop to snap photos of the excellent cosplay on display.
But, what really pleased me, as well as the numerous folks I talked to at the show was the diversity of the crowd. Young and old, men and women, families, friends, the crowd showed off the diverse individuals who make up the numerous fandoms represented. Many, such as myself, observed that attendance felt pretty evenly split between men and women, and though not scientific, I felt like women dominated the cosplay, easily the majority of folks dressing up for the show. This was a “family” show at it’s best and really showed off the diversity of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Families also had tons to do at the convention including a kids zone manned staff from NASA. What was fantastic was not only seeing the kids having fun and learning about science, but the numerous female children there not being judged, but being welcomed, and with smiles on their face enjoying the events. The show took advantage of what DC had to offer, not only featuring NASA, but also I.C.E. representatives talking about online safety and an organization to promote secularism. That’s something you don’t see at any other convention! What we didn’t see were the local political parties taking advantage of the crowds by registering people to vote, something I still don’t understand, especially in an election year.
There’s so much room for this convention to grow, both literally and figuratively, I can easily see it becoming a premiere show within the next few years. As a bonus attendees can take advantage of not just the show, but the numerous museums and monuments in the area, an easy walk from the convention center.
I was blown away by the show, and all I talked to had a great time. Here’s to an even bigger and better Awesome Con 2015!