A bit back I was approached by some ladies who asked if I would be interested in running tables at a show they were putting on. The flyer they gave me said it was called 'CIL-Con' (Central Illinois Con) and was a Paranormal/Horror/Anime/Gaming convention. They said that w/ my combination of Surplus and Game related materials, I would make a good fit. Table costs were very reasonably priced so I reserved some and prepped the hippy-mobile for transport.
As it turns out, this was originally planned as a 'paranormal' gathering but they decided to branch out into the anime and gaming areas for overlap. This showed in the vendors that were present. They were mostly paranormal and horror including some palm readers, psychics, aura cleansers and similar. From what I understand, the 'Haunt' community are like 'Undead Heads', they travel and talk. I know of some in Ohio that had heard of this event and vendors/presenters were from as far away as Alabama. Not bad for a start-up con. Besides myself, there was one other anime seller and the 'EndZone' game store ran a game room.
One of the neatest things though was the 'Mystery Machine' from Scooby Doo.
Zero1 USA, set up a ring and perform some matches for a crowd. Several of them walked the mall in character hyping it up. My favorite was 'Norman the Belligerent'. They were just cheesily choreographed enough to be entertaining.
Very well organized. Tables were marked. Events were clearly listed. Info booth . Outside of a few things, this was well done.
Advertising- Not only all over town but as I said earlier, this was heard about across the country.
Uniqueness- Definitely not something normally done around here it was able to attract a diverse audience not regularly catered to.
Advertised as gaming/anime, there were only a few tables for it including mine. They have said they are going to get more for next year.
Booth manning- The info table at the main entrance was only sporadically manned Fri night and not at all on Sat.
Sat. Morn and Evening. Some people mentioned that several of the events in the morning didn't happen. Not sure if this is accurate but it was mentioned. Also many of the 'paranormal' vendors were bailing really early, like 6pm, hours before the scheduled end. This looks bad.
Misc. Recommendations (for all my .02 are worth)-
Film Room(s)- Movies, movies and more movies. Get a screen, projector and a laptop to show anime, horror flicks, and gamer movies. Plenty of empty stores that can be dark enough to do this.
Overall they were able to bring in a nice crowd of people that weren't
the usual mall walkers. The diversity in themes definitely brought out
the 'Freaks and Geeks' who were able to be themselves in an area that
doesn't have a well organized gaming community. I certainly hope I get
invited back next year.