What to expect at Phoenix Fan Fest from a Geek Dad


Hey GNN readers! Geek Dad here, writing my first article. I usually am behind the scenes with Geek Mom taking pictures and making sure she doesn’t fall or run into anything. Quick summary of me; huge video gamer, avid lover of Star Wars, really into the whole engineering thing. I have a son, Flynn, and it has been a fun 8ish months sharing all my geekness with him. The coolest thing ever is how everything stops for him when he hears Star Wars music.


As well as this being my first time writing for GNN it is also going to be my son’s first time going to a comic book convention. I am excited to not only being talking about Fan Fest as a fan, but also as a father.


Phoenix Fan Fest is Phoenix Comicon’s answer to a comic book convention during the ‘slightly less warm’ season. Many fans want to be able to cosplay and enjoy pop culture with their fellow geeks in cooler weather, so Fan Fest was born. The first Fan Fest is at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale December 12-14. Normally housing the Arizona Cardinals, this event is sure to be just as big and successful as Phoenix Comicon. (More info here.)


Ok, official stuff out of the way, lets talk about what I am excited about: Panels and the Exhibitor Hall. Everyone has different things that they are excited about and based on what I have seen from the Fan Fest program guide, they have tried to cover most of their bases. I do find it interesting that there are not a lot of anime panels. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be much of a presence for anime at all, not just panels, but also guests and activities.


I like that there appears to be a big cosplay emphasis for this convention. While I have never been comfortable to do costuming of my own, I have always enjoyed the process and final results that people go through to make some really elaborate costumes. I am definitely going to be checking out the Iron Costume Contest and the Face-Off Makeup panel. (Costuming programming guide found here.)


The costuming and anime aside, there is plenty to see; from celebrity panels to interactive activities. There are some fun, kid friendly panels I can’t wait to share with Flynn like Youth Crafts with AZ Charter of SCA to do some medieval crafting, getting his picture taken with Master Jedi Osho Clause and watching some Muggle Quidditch. (Find the complete programming guide here.)


I am definitely going to be making time to go to the Exhibitor Hall to see what nerdy treasures I can find there. I am also looking forward to seeing some old favorites like Travis Hanson and Steam Crow. We collect Harley Quinn Fan Art, so I am hoping to score some new pieces for our collection. I also hope to find a good deal on Magic cards and maybe some baby geek wear or costumes. While I don’t cosplay, my son is a hard core coplayer, as seen here. (Complete list of Exhibitors found here.)


Here are some Geek Dad approved pointers:

  • Free parking! This is huge, since normally parking is at least $10 per day in downtown Phoenix.
  • No outside food. While I think it is ridiculous that UoP won’t allow guest to bring in outside food, they do have a lot of good quality food vendors inside and there is also going to be food trucks outside. I love food trucks, so I am looking forward to seeing if some of my favorites will be there.
  • Baby food is allowed. Families with babies under the age of 2 are allowed to bring their own food and formula/baby milk for their children under 2. Again, this is a UoP Stadium rule, not Fan Fest.
  • WiFi and Phone Signals. WiFi and internet connection speeds are always horrible at these things, so make sure to have a designated meetup spot if you get separated from your friends and family. Also, bring a phone charger, because phone batteries die faster while your phone searches for 4G and phone service.
  • Take a picture of your kid at the convention before going in. That way if you get separated or lost you will have an up-to-date picture that includes what they are wearing that day so it is easier to find them.
  • Bring cash. While a lot of vendors have started using Credit Card processing with their phones, cash is still King. Since cell phone signals are required for processing credit cards and signal is always tough, cash makes purchasing easier.


That all I’ve got. I am bad at endings so later.

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