(This story is sponsored by Fan Expo Vancouver.)
Anticipation is building for one of the hottest events in the pop-culture calendar. Now in its eighth year, Fan Expo Vancouver returns to the Vancouver Convention Centre from March 1 to 3. More than 25,000 eager fans are expected to attend this year’s event, where they will be able to enjoy three days of celebrity encounters, cosplay, shopping, speaker panels, and so much more.
No Fan Expo is complete without a star-studded lineup of famous guests who will be taking part in various programming, signing autographs, and having their pictures taken. But those who have never been before can expect a fully immersive and interactive experience. Fan Expo is one event where the attendees are part of the entertainment. That’s because fans are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite characters from the comic, sci-fi, horror, anime, and fantasy world. And this year, organizers have upped the ante by hosting a costume contest, which promises to be fun whether you’re a performer or a spectator.
The event is put on by Fan Expo HQ, which is one of the largest entertainment convention groups in North America, but Kandrix Foong, managing director in Western Canada, says the Vancouver scene is pretty special.
“It’s like a Halloween party in the spring,” he says. “There’s something for Mom, Dad, and the kids. It’s a visual spectacle.”
And as anyone familiar with Fan Expo knows, there are a number of activities and attractions for the whole family—from superheroes, princesses, and voice actors for the little ones to speaker panels, workshops, and autograph sessions for the big kids, a.k.a. adults.
“Everybody can enjoy Fan Expo in their own way,” adds Foong. “If you’re an aspiring artist, you can go to the Artist Alley and talk to some of the professionals who are doing it. If you’re a fan of a TV show or movie, there’s the chance to sit in on a panel or to meet your heroes. There’s so much you can do at these events.”
Fan Expo offers the opportunity to talk firsthand to the people who have made the transition from fandom to professional by turning their hobbies into a career. The Artist Alley is the perfect place to meet the pencillers, inkers, and writers who work the frontlines of the industry. Those serious about pursuing a career should be sure to check out some of the “how to” workshops or the ever-popular “sketch duels”, where professional comic artists battle it out before your very eyes. Attendees can also sit in on the speaker panels, where the pros will be giving a peek behind the scenes and answering questions.
If you’re keen to take a piece of the expo home with you, there will be no shortage of shopping opportunities. Hundreds of retailers specializing in everything from sci-fi to horror, anime, and gaming, will be in attendance. And it’s here you can source comic books from any era, original artwork, graphic novels, memorabilia, DVDs, videos, toys, T-shirts, and more.
Fan Expo Vancouver takes place Friday to Sunday (March 1 to 3) at the Vancouver Convention Centre West Building (1055 Canada Place). Tickets, which start at $30 each, and the event’s full schedule are available online at the website and through the Fan Expo Vancouver app.