This past weekend was Grape City Con in Lodi, California. The convention practically unites the central valley crowd, and even lures a few bay area folks, like me, for a day of fun. It was cozy having ample time to hang out with all of the local cosplayer and photographer friends. Many of us are enthusiastic about Grape City Con, especially since it’s always nice to be out on a Sunday in April. With that said, this is one of the smaller conventions I’ll be covering this year.
Layout of this event was mostly spread out in three connected halls with the exception of programming location. Attendees that wanted to check out panels and the costume contest went over to Jackson Hall. Most of the foot traffic throughout the day was across the quad from Jackson though. Hall one, Chardonnay Hall, had the special guests and video game tables. There was an auction table located dead center here, which wasn’t hard to locate. Chardonnay Hall also had tables and chairs for people that wanted to sit down and eat and/or relax.
Zinfandel Hall connects to Chardonnay, and this giant room houses mostly artists and some dealers. This hall was probably the busiest whenever I walked around. Aisles were the least spacious in here. Plenty of local artists showed up to sell their work. Recognized quite a few artists that also have booths at other events in the northern California area.
The third hall, Cabernet, had all the vendors that sold retail products and collectibles. If you came to shop for toys or comics, then this was the hall you would spend most the day in. There was so much to variety, even though Funko products seem to be at every booth not selling vintage toys. Found some vintage Disney stuff (watches and plush) that were almost purchased, but luckily held off from making any purchases.
The small venue made it easier to snap some quick photoshoots in the beautiful outdoors area without having to walk very far. Sunny weather probably convinced more people to cosplay. This venue is great for pictures outdoors. I utilized a stage area for some cosplay photos with a couple friends. This was a great way to spend the last hour before having dinner with some friends.
Overall, this con is a great one to experience for the first-time con-goer, and I definitely recommend making a pitstop here next year. It certainly makes you want to be at more events. Just because an event is smaller than others in area doesn’t mean it won’t be as fun. That falls on what you plan to do at events and the company you keep at events. Grape City Con offers a quality exhibitor hall packed with enough to keep you shopping for the day. The local vibe was nice and relaxing after an exhausting weekend at WonderCon. It’s always nice to do events back-to-back weekends.