I drove to Con.ect, the annual geek convention in Port Elizabeth, this past Saturday and when I arrived there at roughly 9:30, I was amazed at how many people were already waiting for the doors to open at 10:00 for an event in the city. In Port Elizabeth, there aren't many ways to really get your geek out, but Con.ect gave me that opportunity with hundreds of like-minded fans and an event that ran extremely smoothly.
At exactly 10:00, the doors opened up and people started streaming in. Everything was already set up inside and getting my ticket was a great experience, as I was greeted by a Khaleesi cosplayer and shown into the main area, where geeky goodness was waiting for me.
Stalls and activities
Although the main area wasn’t that big, it was filled to the brim with stalls. In those stalls, you could get just about anything your heart desires, from collectable card games and Game of Thrones monopoly to books, t-shirts featuring superheroes like The Flash and much more. One of the first things I did was buy myself a Batman cupcake to devour and some fudge in a cup, then I set off to explore all the amazing things the stalls had to offer.
There were just so many things to purchase at great prices that I couldn’t help myself. All the stall owners were extremely friendly and talked to me with passion about their products, especially the beautiful Lego display.
There was some amazing artwork on display as well and even people flying drones around the area. Then, there was a moving dinosaur display that you could take pictures with from Bayworld, a cosplay stand, a medieval competition booth where you see how quickly you could knock a nail into some wood and more.
The only thing I would change is that I would have liked a bigger focus on gaming and Virtual Reality, but all in all, it was a great experience, especially with some nice activities happening mostly on an hourly basis. There was a great School of Aikido martial arts demo, a parkour display which the Fairview convention centre was perfect for, a cosplay masquerade to watch and an impressive martial arts display.
Further, you could enter various competitions and raffles with some awesome prizes up for grabs.
Con.ecting with the crowd
It was wonderful to see so many fans coming out in support of the local event and enjoying themselves. The crowd were filled with wonderful, friendly people who could all let their geek out without any judgement.
People were helpful and you could just feel the excitement in the air from small children to even elderly men and women. One of my first experiences was seeing a little boy, no older than 8 years, playing on one of the Asus ROG exhibition PCs at the LAN, parachuting into the PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds map and it looked glorious.
Probably the most entertaining aspect of the crowd was all the cosplayers just walking around, doing their own thing. A little girl dressed as the bride of Chucky was sitting in a stall on a chair, which I didn’t realise until I gave her a closer look (I thought it was a doll). The cosplayers were extremely friendly as well, giving anyone the opportunity to photograph them or taking a photo with them.
I am a bit of an introvert, but after seeing how friendly the people were, I felt like I could talk to anyone and just have a blast.
The food and the swag
If you spend a whole day at an event, you will have to eat and drink something. Con.ect provided some great food, but not a lot of choices. We basically had chips, chocolates, cool drinks, coffee and then your substantial food in the form of hot dogs, samosas, hot chips and chip rolls. I tried it all throughout the event and I have to say, everything was really nice.
The hot dogs had a very nice stew, while the samosas were fresh and crispy. The food, accompanied by swift service and decent prices, was nothing spectacular, but it got the job done. I mentioned earlier that there was quite a lot of stalls with some cool merchandise to purchase.
I splurged a little, purchasing a Con.ect mug (with all proceeds going to charity) as well as some great swag. I got a Dota 2 ring, a Dota 2 necklace, some little for example the Tasmanian Devil and Pikachu. Further, I simply couldn’t resist a Thor hammer keychain and of course, a Game of Thrones, Hand of the King pin, at a very cheap price. I would have liked some more gaming merchandise, but I do appreciate all the variety on offer from the stores.
Superheroes, of course, had a big presence, as well as Pokémon and anime characters, which was really great.
The only thing negative about the Con.ect convention for me was that I felt the gaming presence was a little bit lacking. The LAN was quite small and in the main area, there was a lack of gaming merchandise, with only one store featuring some gaming mice, keyboards and a few graphics cards at standard prices. I didn’t see one PS4 or advertisement for a specific game, like Destiny 2, coming up, nor did I see a VR experience to try out.
Even so, I did enjoy myself at the event and it is, without a doubt the biggest geek convention that Port Elizabeth has ever seen. When asking some of the crowd and a couple of friends about previous events, they also confirmed that the growth from year-to-year has been massive. Therefore, I can’t wait for it next year, as I am already hyped to go again.
The event was run extremely well and there is no doubt that it will improve again. It was amazing to see so many awesome fans coming out and supporting the local event.
Did you attend Con.ect event in Port Elizabeth this past weekend or do you plan to visit the windy city’s geek convention next year? Let us know in the comment section below.
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