(via email, 22 April 2015)
Sitting in one spot for four days may not sound like a lot of fun. At a slow, ill-attended show two days can seem like four. But the 2015 Calgary Expo on 16-19 April was hands down THE best organized, best run and best attended show I've ever seen. That was the unanimous consensus of every other guest and exhibitor that I spoke with.
The staff and volunteers were incredibly helpful and efficient and possibly clairvoyant; the food cart would magically appear at the first thought of a hunger pang. Yes, you read that right... they provided free food and beverages (no beer, though) for the guests. The carts were brought around to our tables on a regular basis by extremely friendly and cheerful staff. The quality and selection were top-notch, especially the Mexican salad, California rolls and Dim Sum dumplings... okay, enough gushing about the food. I never liked eating at the table in front of the public, though; feels like you're on display at the zoo or something: Come To The Show! Watch The Starving Artists Eat!
With 102,000 people filing past and with the popularity and exuberance of cos-play (formerly known as 'dressing up') the guests behind the tables got to enjoy the parade as it passed by (when we didn't have our head down sketching). We met a lot of people; some die-hard fans (one guy drove the 3 hours down from Edmonton), some had never heard of Cerebus.
One young woman stood back from the table starting over my head for quite a while. When I asked if I could help her, she pointed at the Regency print behind me and sheepishly asked if I had drawn that. I told her that I had and showed her the smaller print in my display portfolio that she could have a closer look at. She was pouring over the image and I told her that the print was available for $20. She looked at me wide-eyed and said, "I can buy this?" Dumbfounded, she handed over a twenty while I slipped a print from the case and signed it. She thanked me, told me that she knew nothing about comics; this was her first convention and she wandered away holding her print as if it were a holy relic.
It doesn't get better than that.
We were tired and show-shocked at the end but as Shel said the next morning, "I could do another day!"