by Lee Benjamin
PerryCon, formerly the Warner Robins Comic Con, moved their venue this year to the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. This facility contains six million square feet of exhibition space on 1100 acres, featuring two arenas, four exhibit halls, two 480-stall horse barns, four ponds, and parking for 13,000 vehicles. Hundreds of events are held annually including livestock shows, rodeos, gun shows, swap meets and computer shows. The weekend of PerryCon also featured the Southeastern Rodeo and the Georgia Alpaca Association’s Royal Alpaca Challenge.
I had seen many pictures of small conventions from the Axanar Fan Group on Facebook and I wanted a booth that would stand out. I contacted my friend Lee Mavity and we started planning our Axanar booth. Yes, we’re known as “Lee and Other Lee”, but who is who, is a matter of perspective.
A trip to the dollar store provided a table cloth and several sizes of clear picture frames for table top displays. The “Other Lee” provided a 32″ Smart TV for showing “Prelude To Axanar” and a laptop to show a slideshow of pictures of the Ares Studio Construction. I started designing the tabletop displays and a banner. I made the arrangements for a “fan” table, and I planned for a 6 foot table and no wall.
I contacted Diana Kingsbury, Axanar’s own Goddess of Fulfillment, to determine if any additional materials were available. For small conventions, with no real track record for attendance, where enthusiast Axanerds wish to drum up some local support for Axanar, a package called a Mini-Con Kit (MCK) is sometimes available. We were in luck and an MCK was dispatched to Georgia. I found a large (30”x40”) poster board, and combined it with the MCK materials and provided some text about Axanar. In hindsight, I would have used less text and made the text bigger. The kit also included some postcard sized Axanar hand-out cards. To this I added my USS Ares schematic poster (24”x36”), some homemade displays about “What is Axanar”, a “Now Playing” card for the TV, and an informational page for the Axanar Podcast on Trek.fm. I borrowed two easels for the posters and the centerpiece was a copy of the 2014 Press Kit which was printed double sided and put in a notebook. The 2014 Press Kit was chosen above the newer press kit because the design is more compact and easier to “talk to”.
The presskit/notebook, although a little dated, was kept open to the pages with pictures of the actors so I could point out that we have Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, J.G. Hertzler, Gary Graham, Kate Vernon, and Alec Peters, appearing. I also had a copy of the “Prelude To Axanar” Premier Program, which was left open to the pages about Tobias Richter and The Light Works and placed in front of the television showing Prelude.
Arriving at the McGill building, where we had attended many local computer shows in the past, we went around the back and entered by an open garage door which was used for the larger exhibitors to drive in delivery vans full of tables, racks and their various wares. These doors were also used to bring in the General Lee, replica Batmobile, replica Batcycle (with side car) and the actual screen-used Bell 47 based Batcopter. As rain was predicted for the weekend, all hopes of riding in the Batcopter were squashed.
Upon arrival I located the show coordinator, Mario Russo, who directed me to a line of tables along one wall. We were fortunate to have a wall, an 8 foot table, two chairs and convenient access to electrical outlets. Soon the booth was put together, and we were ready for the throngs to begin arriving at 4 PM on Friday.
The Macon TV station, channel 13 (WMAZ) had been running ads for PerryCon to reach the entire middle Georgia area and the Macon newspaper provided some coverage of the show on Saturday.
As expected, Friday night proved a little slow, but we had lots of interest from attendees and other vendors. Saturday was much better with a steady flow of interest in Axanar and a few really enthusiastic potential donors. Sunday attendance was slowed a bit by rain, but turnout and interest were still good. All of the hundred or so, postcards and several hundred business cards for Axanar were handed out. Check out our photo gallery on Facebook. Note: the link should work even if you’re not on Facebook.