Last weekend was Shockacon’s first year (the con chair says not to count last year really). The con had a great atmosphere, but there were still some rough edges.
The con’s primary site was at the Haunted Barn. Inside they had the vendors rooms with the guests and the Barn ran several of their haunted tours upstairs. Outside was more promotional tables, the main stage, and on the side a some hearses. Two blocks away at the Kanawha Players Theater was the panels and screenings. Splitting the con into two places worked against them. Going back and forth was tiring and annoying. I do not think the neighborhood appreciated the noise from the con either.
All the people there seemed to be having fun. Vendors had a nice cross-section of things to buy: games, movies, shirts, make-up, comics, jewelry, art, toys, books, and more. The guests were friendly, polite, and happy to meet fans. I saw a number of really great costumes throughout the weekend. Really great event if you are a fan of zombies, horror movies, or make up and costuming.
I checked out two of the panels: prepping for a zombie apocalypse and one on exorcisms. I felt they were both good, just the room they were held in was not all that good for presentations with bad acoustics and with some junk in the back. Big enough for lots of people though.
The problems with the cons fell a bit like nick-picking, but are things that can be easily fixed and will make things even better. The con lacked any kind of program guide for people to carry around, meaning they had to keep asking for directions and having to go back to check the posted schedules. Splitting the con into two places worked against them.
It was hot on Friday with very little AC for the vendors room and then it rained for part of Saturday causing some shuffling of events without much announcement. There were problems with the videos playing, stuff was late or just skipped. The events at the Main Stage were often a little later than scheduled, which is just Con Standard Time (CST) so that was expected.
They have the crowd and the passion for the event. I just think it would be better overall if they move things indoors, like a hotel or the civic center. The Kanawha Players Theater looked like a place that might work out to move everything into from what I saw. I wait to see what they are able to do in the future.