Although attendance was light, again… first year con, the Choo Choo was rocking with a lot of familiar faces, friends, fellow writers, and folks from the local and surrounding area’s steampunk communities. Not once over the course of the weekend did I hear anyone complaining or stating that they wouldn’t return. Actually, it was the opposite. Everyone kept stating that they plan on returning in 2015.
The Steampunk & Gothic Expo, 2014
When Alan Darr first approached me, early this year about coming to a ‘new’ steampunk convention in Chattanooga, I was all for it. Of course, I wasn’t sure that they could really pull a quality event together in just a few months. Folks I know who work in various conventions had mentioned that most start-up cons take at least a year or more to pull together. So, I was concerned but hoped for the best.
What I found when I arrived was a well-organized event with one of the friendly staffs that I’ve encountered. Check-in was quick and painless. They provided a well-stocked ‘Green Room’ for the guests and vendors. The Dealer’s Room was full of some great steampunk vendors, writers and artist. The ‘steampunk swap meet’ was a big hit. The entertainment, Voltaire, kicked butt and was certainly a hit with the ladies. And the cos-play/costuming was great!
The Dealer’s Room was in the Main Ballroom of the Choo Choo Hotel. While they could have sold more space for vendors, their set-up worked nicely and provided plenty of room for everyone. With it being a first year con, sales were lighter than some of the other Chattanooga conventions, namely Chattacon and Connooga. Having said that, I did more sales at this convention then the last two cons I’ve attended, combined.
There were only a handful of panels. The guest, including myself only had one panel each. Again, it was a first year event and I expect to see a major step-up in the programming next year. I will say that my panel with the lovely J.L. Mulvihill was perhaps the most enjoyable con panel I’ve ever been on.
So bottom line is… this was a great con for a first year. If they keep this level of professionalism and organization, next year promises to be incredible. For those that missed it, plan on going in 2015!