As I walked into the building to attend the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo, I was not sure what to expect. I had never been to an Expo in a mall, or attended a free expo. It is a young event as this is only its third year. I had not been to this mall since my youth (it was my old stomping grounds in middle school). It was an interesting experience.
I was initially frustrated by the lack of an information table. The schedule I had printed out on my computer from their website seemed to have completely changed. My boyfriend and I wandered around and scoped out what was where (not that it helped too much). We ended up in a panel about Religion, Fandom, and Modern Mythology. While interesting, it was not the panel we were expecting.
We stepped out early, and somehow found what was passing as the information table/kiosk. There were sheets with the updated schedule and a map of where the panels were. Once that information was acquired, things went much more smoothly. We had some time, so we perused the vendors while we waited for the next panel to start. There was a good mix of vendors. It was a bit heavy on the comic/artist side of tables, but even those had a good mixture. We also swung by the game room. It was a good size with a good crowd. I wish I had had more time to sit down and play a game or two.
The presenters at the panels were all excellent. They were informative, fun, great speakers, educated, and prepared. I learned about several things. My boyfriend was enthralled with the Pepakura for Cosplay panel. Pepakura is a program that lets you print out cut outs in paper for parts of costumes. You can then use the patterns to cut them out of foam, leather, or your material of choice. He left with many ideas swimming in his head. I left the Japanese Lolita Fashion 101 panel with probably just as many ideas swimming in mine.
One of the most interesting things they offered was an event called the Peachy Maid Café. They re-created a Japanese style café complete with coffee, pastries, and stage events. Each of your servers was dressed up in a cute outfit, and would come sit at your table and discuss anime, Japanese culture, or whatever else you wanted to discuss. It did have limited seating, and we were not able to get in and grab a seat before we had to leave. They did let us peek around the curtain though. Since they didn’t allow photographs inside the café, I wasn’t able to get a good picture. Just one of the warning sign out front.
Despite my initial irritation at a lack of organization, I had a good time, and look forward to seeing how this Expo progresses in the future. I would be open to going back next year. Maybe then I could find time for a board game, and a seat in the Peachy Maid Café.