This past weekend Vancouver played host to the return of the local version of Fan Expo. The show represents, in my opinion, the biggest and most established convention that Vancouver must offer its fandom. There may be shows that are of a larger scale, or perhaps even offer a better representation of their individual fanbases, but Fan Expo seems to be the most recognized and draws in some of the biggest celebrity guest stars that our town sees on an annual basis.
Fan Expo Vancouver has, for several years now, been growing and trying to improve itself with each new iteration to benefit, support, and showcase the widespread and diverse fandom of the Vancouver community in all its interests including movies, television, sci-fi, anime, comic books, and video games.
Personally, I think the only issue with trying to be as wide-spread and all-reaching as it is would be the fact that it feels a little diluted, depending on your fandom. As predominately video-game centric site the offerings for gamers at the show were limited to a small number of vendor booths selling classic video game titles and a single booth entry from Warner Brothers showing off a small selection of video games (primarily the Lego video games that had recently released).
That said, I see the appeal of trying to cross-pollinate the fan bases and getting the community together as one mass collective in order to share their individual passions and celebrate the diversity the groups have and show how we overlap with one another for the benefit of the whole, having certain sections "spread thin" doesn't necessarily ruin the show, but does offer a reflection of the fan base of the city and perhaps reminds us that we need to step up who we are as a community in order to get our particular fandoms represents more thoroughly, thankfully over the last couple of years additional shows have picked up the slack with Vancouver now playing host to at least two video-game specific shows.
Back to the topic of this year's offering from Fan Expo in Vancouver in specific, I will say that the company has stepped up their handling and layout of the show overall.
The show floor was a lot more cleanly laid out then I'd seen with our previous visits and it was easy enough to navigate. If a criticism was to be offered, talking about the layout/floor of the show specifically, it would be that the rows weren't spread wide enough to accommodate the traffic that was present.
In general, the aisles between vendor booths were about 2.5-person width which I would assume was intended to allow for flow in both directions of traffic. However, it seemed to forget that the purpose of a lot of those paths is to allow people to stop and browse product. With now "middle lane" to allow the visitors to the show through the aisles quickly became traffic jams and people were either stuck in the middle somewhere frustrated or being shoved past/forwards and away from the booths they were trying to casually peruse.
Our staff has had the pleasure of attending every iteration of the Vancouver Fan Expo since it's inception and it's fair to say that this was, by far, the most cleanly produced version to date. It's just worth stating that there is some room for improvement still.
Here's hoping that next year's showing, Fan Expo Vancouver 2017, fixes the last little bits of issue with navigating the stellar selection of vendors so that it's as easy to browse product, art, and meet new people to share fandom with as it was to line up to meet the hefty offering of celebrity guests!
If you'd like a visual representation of the show and its many offerings, we've built out a photo album on Facebook which you can check out on our Facebook Page (all credit to our amazing photographer Melissa Dex Guzman, who's site you can visit here: www.MelissaDexGuzman.ca).