By Ryan Javier
Irving – Fan Days, the final Dallas con of 2015, took place over a beautifully temperate October weekend. The “Fall Con” is just one of three annual Cons in Dallas, with one in February and another usually in May. (Dallas is also home to two anime cons and usually hosts one or two horror cons every year as well)
With over five chances to dress-up each year, it’s no surprise that Dallas-area fans have a certain affinity for cosplay.
Thousands of people swarmed the convention center which is situated just outside the city limits. The crowds were not as large as the previous con, but the lower numbers worked to benefit those who did attend, as autograph and food lines were manageable and moved fairly swiftly.
Among the many stars and special guests on hand, were three of the stars of 1984’s blockbuster, The Karate Kid, including Ralph Macchio(Danial-Son), Martin Kove (Sensei Kreese) and William Zabka (Johnny Lawrence).
Over two hundred vendors and their booths, ringed by a string of artists and comic book guests, packed out the main floor of the exhibition hall while the upper floors were reserved for panel discussions and celebrity q and a’s, autograph sessions and photo op’s. Cosplay and Fan community organizations such as the DFW Ghostbusters, the Tulsa Tardis and Austin Browncoats were also setup on the upper levels.
We spoke with retailers, celebrities, staff and fans alike, and all said that this Con was the best that they had been to in Irving, and collectively, their experience was in stark contrast to that of the previous con at this location, in Feb of 2015. That Con was grossly miss-managed, way overcrowded and was wrought with complaints from ticket holders and vendors alike. Of the hundreds that I spoke with at that event, not one positive word was spoken to this reporter. But the 2015 “May Con” was a blinding success, fueling the optimism for this October’s con. Attendance numbers reflected that some fans still had a bad taste in their mouths and chose not come out—something that actually helped; lines were smaller, the event wasn’t nearly as crowded, impatience was virtually nonexistence, which meant attitudes and spirits were high throughout the three-day event. Security also must have undergone sensitivity training; I witnessed no clashes between fans and the onsite guards this time. Fan Days has certainly come a long way towards rebuilding their reputation, and as proud part of fandom myself, I am hopeful for the future and am certainly counting the days until the next event in 2016.