Conventions are a fun way to get out of your comfort zone, meet your favorite celebrities, and watch moderated panels that answer fans’ questions. This is a guide for 3 of the big fan conventions that hit Atlanta, and tips for any convention in general.
Heroes & Villains Fan Fest (website)
Where: Georgia World Congress Center
When: November 18th & 19th, 2017
Tickets: $90 for 2 day, $55 for Saturday, $45 for Sunday
Shows: Arrow, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Once Upon a Time, Supergirl, Gotham, & more
Comments: This is a small convention, so it’s an ideal “relaxed” first convention for someone just trying to figure out what they’re like. The lines won’t be too bad, giving you more time at autograph tables. They’ll have a good amount of vendors on the convention floor. Watch their twitter, because they often do BOGO deals for tickets.
Walker Stalker Convention (website)
Where: Georgia World Congress Center
When: 2018 Dates TBD
Tickets: $95 for 2 day, $55 Saturday, $45 for Sunday
Shows: The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, The Boondock Saints, Ash vs. Evil Dead, The 100, Lost, & more
Comments: This convention has a bigger floor space than San Diego Comic Con. It’s more overwhelming than HVFF, but less crowded than Dragon*Con. There are tons of vendors dedicated to the shows at the convention. There’s also two different stages for panels to occur on. Watch their twitter as well, because they are run by the same people as HVFF and often do BOGO deals for tickets.
Where: Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Marriott Marquis, Sheraton, & Westin Peachtree Plaza – ATLANTA
When: August 30th to September 3rd, 2018
Tickets: Currently undetermined. 2017 prices for reference: $140 for Friday to Monday, $120 for Saturday to Monday, $70 for Sunday to Monday. Friday – $40, Saturday – $50, Sunday – $45, Monday – $35.
Shows: Varying and diverse every year.
Comments: There were over 80,000 people at Dragon*Con 2017. Personally, I felt like I wasn’t even moving my own feet at some points when I got swept into huge crowds of people. The cosplays people show up in range from casual to completely decked-out, and you can tell everyone there is dedicated to the convention. It’s an iconic Labor Day Atlanta happening, and everyone should get there at least once in their lives.
Vocabulary to know:
Tickets: Your ticket will get you into the door, give you access to the convention floor where you can get to vendors, photo ops, autograph tables, and panels (some restrictions, like for WSC’s charity panels). This will not include any photo ops or autographs, those must be purchased separately.
Autograph: This is when you pay ($30-90, dependent on the guest) to have a photograph signed by a celebrity guest. They will have options at their table for you to choose from, or you can bring something from home if you so desire. This is where you can really talk to the guest. Some celebrities will offer selfies either with their autographs or for an additional price. Most guests will just sell these for cash at their tables, but some more popular guests may have pre-sold autographs online.
Photo Op: This is a professional 8×10 photograph taken of you and a celebrity guest, costing anywhere from $40 to $100 depending on the guest. It’s not a meet and greet, so don’t expect to say much. They are usually ready just moments after you leave the photo op room. Photo ops can be purchased online a couple months before the event, and if you want to meet a “more” famous guest it’s advisable to buy it before the convention. Otherwise, guests that are not sold out will sell photo ops in site, cash only.
Things to Bring:
Most conventions allow you to have a backpack (but you can check their bag policy online). A few recommendations:
- Wear gym shoes! Most of your day will likely be spent standing in lines.
- Water bottle
- Easy snacks, like granola bars or peanut butter crackers
- CASH. Autographs and photo ops not purchased online before the convention can ONLY be bought in cash. On-site ATMs are not the way to go.
- Portable phone charger
- Makeup, if any
- A folder, to put your ticket and then any printed photo ops or autographed pictures.
In general, the conventions’ websites should be stocked with information and they likely also have an app as well. When you’re actually at the convention, there should be plenty of people in “volunteer” shirts willing to help you with any questions you may have. Be sure to check the panel schedule and photo op schedule when they’re posted, and before you go–they can change at a moment’s notice, and you have to make sure you don’t have overlapping photo times. Plus, guests are able to cancel any time if they can no longer make it, so it’s not advisable to go to a convention for a single guest. Hopefully, this helps you pick which Atlanta convention is right for you–or maybe you’ll do all three in a year, like me!
Happy convention-ing to all.