Fan Fest Fierce In The Windy City

Linda Marie Linda Marie
Expert Contributor
March 31st, 2017

Comic Cons stole my life!

Fan Fest Chicago proved to be a great success as thousands of excited fans flocked to experience the joining of two incredible events, Heroes and Villains Fan Fest and Walker Stalker Con. The weather outside may have been dreary but all was bright and lively inside the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Welcome!

A favorite aspect at any Fan Fest event are the helpful and happy volunteers. Chicago was no exception as all fans were greeted warmly upon entry. Staff and volunteers alike worked hard to move lines quickly as possible so that fans could maximize their time at this illustrious event; a world filled with options to please even those with the most obscure of obsessions.

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Merchandise

Volunteers manning the merchandise at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

From artists and merchants to entertainment and celebrities, one surely noted the epic combination of fandoms. A cursory glance across the show floor revealed stellar representations of superheroes, villains, and horror. Unique items were just waiting for a new home; many options to help memorialize your time at Fan Fest.

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Con Coordinating

While Fan Fest was inundated with excited people meandering about, a great job was done in providing a layout that allowed a smooth flow from one area to the next. Of course when you have guests like Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Stephen Amell, Milo Ventimiglia and John Barrowman in attendance, some areas are bound to get a little clogged. The good news is that everything was managed in a way to assure all fans received the experience they desired. The celebrity guests were warm, welcoming, and grateful to all involved. It fills my heart to see such thoughtful and caring interactions between the celebrities and their fans. That is the epitome of Fan Fest... fans first!

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Negan, The Walking Dead

Jeffrey Dean Morgan holds court during his Negan panel at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

My Con Craze

As always though, my valiant attempt at trying to be everywhere at once proved challenging to say the least. What I have found works best is simply to share some of the highlights I observed through my own experience. It was also wonderful to hear fellow fans share their stories of celebrity interaction; their faces were absolutely beaming as they spoke. Cast members from Sons of Anarchy, Agents of Shield, Arrow, The Walking Dead and so much more were on hand to the delight all of those in attendance.

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Chandler Riggs, Carl Grimes, The Walking Dead

Chandler Riggs signs for fans at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

I'd personally love to thank Mr. Khary Payton, The Walking Dead's King Ezekiel, for inviting me into his world and taking the time to chat. It was a pleasure to interview such a charismatic, talented, and passionate guy (that article will be posted soon). I also want to give a shout-out to Milo Ventimiglia. The talented and handsome Mr. Ventimiglia, currently starring in the hit TV series This Is Us, always shows genuine joy and interest when meeting his fans. I was in awe of his humbleness (and silly selfies).

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, The Walking Dead

Michael Rooker and Sean Gunn host a Guardians of the Galaxy panel at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

One other guest, for which I must give special mention, is the ever unpredictable yet approachable Michael Rooker. This was my third time interacting with Mr. Rooker at a convention and he never ceases to surprise. When Yondu pulls you into a random photo, you go with the flow! Lol Overall though, all the guests deserve kudos for showing such amazing kindness and appreciation... well done!

Fan Fest 2017, Michael Rooker, Fans, Guardians of the Galaxy

Michael Rooker always having fun with the fans at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

Fan Fest Fun

One of the reasons it's always difficult to catch everything Fan Fest has to offer is because there is SO much available. Not only did Fan Fest give host to some truly entertaining panels, there was entertainment and action to be found throughout the floor. Attempting to make your way through the crowd proves challenging when you walk past a stage featuring two girls playing rock music on their harps. Yes, their harps! The Harp Twins were mesmerizing to watch in action. And, it's impossible to not stop and stare in wonder as artist Rob Prior puts brushes to canvas. Yup, I said brushes... plural. This guy is ambidextrous and uses both hands simultaneously as he creates some amazing pieces.

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Harp Twins

The Harp Twins rock out with some Iron Maiden at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

Continuing across the floor, one would wonder what all the 'buzz' is about. That 'buzz' was the sound coming from several tattoo artists hard at work on some truly dedicated fans...talk about commitment! Then there's the cosplay. Exceedingly creative and skilled individuals put together some outrageous representations of their favorite characters. A photo with them is an absolute must!

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Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Tattoo

Time to get inked at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

Not only did the convention itself boast a myriad of entertainment, they also hosted a Zombie Bash Friday evening. Walker Nation CEO Dave Solo was emcee as zombies roamed the dance floor in search of fresh meat. Tom Payne, Jesus from The Walking Dead, even joined the onstage festivities with some karaoke style musical treats. Fans went crazy as they were 'blessed' throughout the evening.

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Zombie Party

Zombies party through the night at Fan Fest Chicago 2017. Credit: Linda Marie

Artistic Array

Attending such a large variety of conventions has allowed me to connect with some incredibly skilled individuals. I was beyond thrilled to see Fan Fest featuring several of my favorite artists! These guys impress me on a level like no other. I also met a couple new artists whose work I found quite intriguing, always a great surprise. Realizing that there was simply too much to write about regarding the artwork at Fan Fest, I've decided to feature it as a separate article. I am honored that five selected artists agreed to be part of a piece I will be working on in April. Very special thanks to Scott Spillman, Brian C. Roll, AJ Moore, JaCo Tartaruga, and Cory Smith. Check out their work!

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Artists, Scott Spillman, JaCo Tartaruga, AJ Moore, Cory Smith

Skilled artists in action at Fan Fest Chicago. Scott Spillman, JaCo Tartaruga, AJ Moore, Cory Smith. Credit: Linda Marie

Thank You!

In closing I'd like to show appreciation to all the management staff, volunteers, and fellow media that work so hard in putting together such an amazing event. Thank you Cory Hewitt for your press assistance and interview set-ups. Thank you Liz Solo for keeping things in order and for your great advice. Thank you Michael Guthas for being the first to allow me access to these events. 🙂 I am with family when I am at Fan Fest.

See you all again... very soon!

Fan Fest Chicago 2017, Stage

Stage ready at Fan Fest Chicago. Credit: Linda Marie

Keeping You Comic Con-nected!

Linda Marie

Twitter: @LindaMw87 Instagram: comic_con_crazy Cosmunity: ComicConCrazy

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