During the first weekend of December, GalaxyCon took over a large portion of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the center of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The star-studded weekend featured a variety of guests, including superheroes, fairy tale characters, childhood favorites, voice actors, and even athletes. Regardless of fandom, there truly was something for everyone to enjoy throughout the weekend.
As with other conventions, GalaxyCon Columbus didn’t stray far from the familiar setup. If you’ve ever attended a convention around the size of GalaxyCon, you know what to expect. Panels throughout the day, opportunities for autographs and photo ops, and a massive show floor with a robust artist alley. These familiar elements are great on their own but remain an enjoyable experience when put together.
Thousands of people came to the convention center during the weekend. As is typical of these events, Saturday is the busiest of them all. I was thankful that I had zero waiting time to pick up my badge on Friday afternoon, as the registration lines on Saturday were long and seemed to last for much of the day.
The primary group of headliners included The Flash’s Grant Gustin, Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio from Daredevil, William Shatner, and Evangeline Lilly. Other guests included multiple cast members from Star Trek, The Mandalorian, Once Upon a Time, Boy Meets World, and Wynonna Earp. The list continued with several prominent voice actors from Disney, classic cartoons, and anime. Though there were some last-minute cancellations before the show, including Amanda Bynes and Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla, the guest list was still impressive.
I was particularly pleased to see the inclusion of cast members from Wynonna Earp. Having representation of a slightly less mainstream show with a primarily LGBTQIA+ fanbase opened the door for a small increase in diversity in both guests and artist alley vendors. Though the impact wasn’t monumental, it was still refreshing to see a noticeable LGBTQIA+ presence despite the lack of an equivalent to Awesome Con’s “Pride Alley.”
One thing that set GalaxyCon apart from other conventions was the lack of ads that played between panels on the main stage. While I personally don’t mind the trailers and commercials that typically play, it does become incredibly grating to see the same sequence multiple times in one day. Though I didn’t see it universally used, it was fun to see Saturday’s Grant Gustin panel open with a clip of him from his time on Glee as well as a Flash blooper reel.
The costume contest is usually a huge draw, and GalaxyCon Columbus was no different. Each costume impressed in its artistry and craftsmanship. Though many fandoms were represented, it seemed like anime and video game characters were the most predominant. The “deliberation time” that divided the initial presentation from the announcement of the winners featured the hosts spotlighting cosplayers in the audience. The idea was great, but the inability to actually see many of the costumes that the hosts were pointing in the vast crowd mired the execution. Ultimately, an interpretation of The Wizard of Oz took the “Best in Show” prize, but there were plenty of other standouts throughout the competitors.
While there were many exciting things to see on the show floor, the coolest was a paid photo opportunity to pose on a giant recreation of Appa from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The nearby Artist Alley remains a convention highlight with so many beautiful creations to choose from. Though my quest to find anything related to some of my smaller fandoms was ultimately disappointing, there were still plenty of amazing options to be found.
GalaxyCon Columbus 2023 was ultimately a joyful weekend celebrating fandom and the people it brings together. The presence of the familiar convention elements was satisfying, but the convention still managed to set itself apart from other shows.
GalaxyCon will return to Columbus on December 6-8, 2024. Hopefully, next year’s showing will be just as exciting.
Author: Jessica Wolff
Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.
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