How-to blog: fan cons post-lockdown

Featured image: outside FANEXPO Canada Limited Edition 2021. @reedspropsplus as Din Djarin.

Your favourite fan con is back! Here’s how to enjoy Comic-Con while the world reopens

The world has changed, and so have fan conventions. Now that we’ve been to a few, we share some tips to make post-lockdown fan cons as enjoyable as ever.

We’ve spent over a year stuck at home, doing our best with online conventions and videos of panels from ages past. But vaccine rates are up, infection rates are down, and most folks have gotten used to masking and distancing. Which means we can safely gather in person with our friends and beloved celebs. So, all hail the Return of the Con!

Sure, some things are going to be different, but I know first-hand that organizers throughout the land have worked hard to make post-lockdown fan cons feel as close as possible to geekdom’s favourite large-scale events of prior years. I got a chance to go to FANEXPO Canada Limited Edition in October, and found their safety restrictions to be clear and reasonable, without limiting my enjoyment of the fan con. You can check out their highlight reel here:

Here are some tips that I picked up at FANEXPO which will help you make the most of Comic-Con post-lockdown:

Know the fan con’s restrictions well in advance

Check out the fan con’s website for their safety requirements before attending the event. Most fan cons require full vaccination at least two weeks prior, consistent masking indoors and some physical distancing. FANEXPO checked folks in at the front doors, meaning that casual gatherings (“lobby con”) had to happen in the park outside. These restrictions will encourage some folks to come and discourage others—either way, you don’t want to be surprised about them when you arrive at the fan con. Prepare to show your vaccine proof while waiting in line, and wear a light, breathable face mask.

Stick with your tried-and-true Fan Con strategies

Now that you’re prepared about what’s different, you’re ready to hear what’s the same: expect (some) crowds, long lineups, limited in-hall dining and lugging around your merch. It’s best if you stick with what works for you. This might include wearing comfortable clothes, carrying a large but lightweight backpack, bringing some geeky reading material and buying covered drinks such as water and coffee.

I picked up my FANEXPO badge a day before the crowds showed up and got to enjoy the lighter crowd of the Friday preview. I made sure to spread my survey of the merch hall over several days, and I used their app to plan my schedule. I took meal and rest breaks outside the convention centre, met up with friends, and kept tweet notifs for @FANEXPOCANADA locked and loaded.

It’s Comic-Con! Remember to be patient and have fun

Fan cons are always logistical monsters, and post-lockdown, the foe is more formidable than ever. The organizers, volunteers and vendors deserve the benefit of the doubt for any practical hiccups that come up, and it doesn’t hurt to thank them for their efforts. You might even find it easier to navigate and relax at Comic-Con compared to the sardine cans of previous editions, thanks to limited crowd and vendor sizes. And you finally get to see your favourite celebs, gawk at all the incredible cosplay, snag those long-desired action figures, and most of all, share your beloved fandoms with friends. After almost two years, having an in­-person, post-lockdown Comic-Con at all is cause for gratitude.

Published by Matthew Neugebauer

MA in Theology, Anglican, Star Wars #Prequelist, Toronto FC Supporter

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