The fourth annual Phoenix Fan Fest took place this past weekend in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The event was held at the Phoenix Convention Center for the second straight year.
Phoenix Fan Fest is a smaller event put on by Square Egg Entertainment, the same people who run Phoenix Comicon. Fan Fest features many of the same attractions that the larger convention does. There is a large exhibit floor, an artist’s alley and media guests. The STS Guys and I always have a great time at this event and have been looking forward to attending for weeks.
This year’s Phoenix Fan Fest saw a few changes most notably the introduction of RFID wristbands. We arrived at the convention center on Saturday about 30 minutes after the doors opened and were greeted with long lines to pickup our wristbands. Fortunately, the lines moved extremely quickly and we waited only a few minutes to check in.
Another change was the increased security. After an unfortunate event at Phoenix Comicon earlier this year in May, it was nice to see the new security measures that were in place at Fan Fest. In addition to banning certain cosplay weapons and props, there was a thorough security checkpoint that you had to pass through before entering the convention area. We were met with another line here but again it moved extremely quickly.
Once inside we were able to explore the exhibit floor and check out the artist’s alley. There were a ton of great vendors including local con staples like Samurai Comics and Moto’s Glass. While walking around, I discovered Tracy Schacht’s booth and his Popin’ Prints artwork. Tracy makes some awesome Funko Pop inspired art. You can check out some examples on his website.
The lines to meet the media guests were steady but never too long. Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters) and Zach Callison (Steven Universe) always seemed to have a nice sized crowd in front of their booths.
On Sunday, I attended the Steven Universe Q&A panel featuring Zach Callison, Grace Rolek and AJ Michalka. All of the panels at Fan Fest were setup in a large room and were only separated by curtains. This made it a little difficult to hear the guests. It was so bad at one point all three of the stars made a comment about how the noise was distracting.
Overall, we had a great time at Phoenix Fan Fest. If you’d like to see more of our Fan Fest coverage, head over to our YouTube page at STSGuys.online for videos from the show floor. Jeremy and I recorded a podcast recapping our experience too. That can be found on YouTube, SoundCloud and iTunes.