Tampa Bay Comic Con was going on this weekend so I decided to check out the convention yesterday to see what all the hype was about. Almost all of my local friends attend this con every year and say it's a good one to visit if you live nearby. TBCC is usually held in a hotel but this year it was placed in the Tampa Convention Center because it had quickly outgrown the hotel's size. Since this was a smaller convention, I decided to not go in costume so I could just roam around and not get bothered for photos or look out of character because I had my camera with me. Chase dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, who was a huge hit earlier this year at MegaCon. My mom was a Jawa and mostly hung around the other 501st troopers and Star Wars characters.
We arrived at 8:30 and met up with the rest of our 501st friends to see where their break room would be. After getting mom settled, Chase and I found the ticket booth and signed him up for the costume contest, which would be held later in the afternoon. Then we met up with a friend and lined up for the exhibit hall to open at 10:00am. When the doors opened, I made a B-line to the 501st booth to check out their setup and then we roamed around the other exhibitors' booths. Chase got stopped at least every 3 seconds for photos with other people. I think I heard "Jack Sparrow" yelled across the room 100 times throughout the day. Needless to say he was a big hit!
I left Chase after about an hour of checking out the exhibit hall to meet up with some other friends. While trying to find where they were, I realized that the line to get in the convention was not only going out the door, but down the street and over a bridge! I don't think anyone was prepared for crowds of that size. The exhibit hall became really overcrowded over the next couple hours and you couldn't walk around without feeling smooshed in between 5 other people. After making a quick walk downtown to Taco Bus for lunch, I decided to just hang out in the hallways and lobby of the convention center instead of getting stuck in a mass of people upstairs.
The costume contest started at 3:00 so Chase and our friend Wes, who was in his brand spankin' new Boba Fett costume, line up for the contest while me, my mom, our friend Mike, and Wes's girlfriend Gabby found seats to watch them on stage. I was really hoping Chase and Wes would have a good chance of placing or winning because both of their costumes were really accurate and looked great. However, the convention staff didn't put a limit on how many people could register to enter the contest, so there were way too many people in the running. All of the contestants had to walk quickly across the stage and very few had enough time to actually pose for the audience. There was a kid's division and an adult's division so the children went first. My favorite of all the kiddos was a little girl, probably about 4 years old, doing a Marty McFly costume from Back to the Future. She had a little hoverboard and the metallic hat. It was so cute! When the adults division started, I was excited to see a LEGO Batman cosplayer, Godzilla, and the Justice League. Sadly after almost 2 hours of waiting for the entire contest and judging to finish, neither Chase nor Wes placed in the winner's category. Godzilla ended up getting first prize and his costume was pretty cool so I was happy about that.
After the contest, we went back to Taco Bus so Chase and our friends could eat something after being in costume all day. Nothing is better than eating tacos with Captain Jack Sparrow and Boba Fett! They got so many funny reactions from people downtown that didn't know a comic convention was going on down the street.
Overall, the convention was really good. I just hope that they prepare for such large crowds next year and spread out the exhibit hall a little more. Before I wrap up this post, I have to share my favorite costumes that I saw all day. These two guys were dressed like characters from the movie Spaceballs. If you've seen the movie, you'll get why this is so funny. If not, go watch the movie! I was laughing so hard when I saw the huge comb...too perfect.