Ultracon of South Florida was a convention held in the Sheridan Suites in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that brought together many elements of pop-culture. As a two day event, the convention had plenty of things to do and see for con-goers of all kinds. Everything from collectible toys, games, anime, and more had some kind of presence at Ultracon. Yet underneath all the neat items and special guests that were in the spotlight, there were signs of a convention making the best of everything available in order to provide a quality experience for attendees. This was a kind of convention that was more than meets the eye.
The entirety of Ultracon 2014 was held in four main rooms, not counting the open lobby area of the Sheridan Suites. Between each of the areas were signs and staff that directed con-goers from one end of the hotel to the other. What makes this significant is how the area itself for the convention was small and easily traversed within seconds, but the momentum and fun factor of the event held strong for hours each day. There was something always going on in each area, ranging from meet and greets with special guest and artist, to cheerleading dances and boffer-fighting demonstrations and contest. Even within the confined spaces of the hotel, Ultracon still had a concentrated and focused fun factor that was welcoming to everyone who attended the convention.
The Dealer’s Room of Ultracon was split between two rooms, with each area having a different assortment of vendors, artist, and even special guest. Present for the weekend were Ultracon guests like DC Douglas, the voice of Resident Evil’s Albert Wesker, and Red Power Ranger Jason Faunt signing autographs and offering photo-ops. Alongside them were other guests like Giggles and Thug, UFC fighters Mike Rio and Marcus Brimage, and even various comic artist and popular cosplayers selling some their work. In another room were setups of vendors selling all kinds of collectibles ranging from vintage toys and rare video games, to jewelry and model kits that any pop-culture fan would have a fangasm for. The many choices and variety of opportunities to find a neat souvenir from Ultracon could hold up with some of the best other bigger conventions have to offer.
To keep things fun and light for everyone, Ultracon had Arcade Odyssey set up some of their arcade machines and home consoles in one room to provide all kinds of virtual fun for attendees. Although there were no real tournaments held on both days, anyone could walk in and out all day and enjoy an assortment of video games any time they wanted. This was a great way to get away from the Dealer’s Room and Panels being hosted during the weekend. Various panels of all kinds were hosted next door to the gaming area, being host to panels with all kinds of topics. Whether you were a “bronie” and looking to get you fix of the latest My Little Pony episode, or curious about photography and video game related subjects, there was a panel on the schedule that catered to you.
The two costume contests were the events that garnered the most attention and stole the show for the weekend. Cosplayers of all kinds competed to show off their outfits and reach for a chance at winning one of the two major prizes for both contests, an Xbox One gaming console and a $200 cash prize. Even though there could only be two best in show winners, all of the outfits from everyone at the convention definitely deserved praise. From a stilt-wearing Pyramid Head and elaborate Saint Seiya armor, to a family of Bleach characters and large Fairy Tail group, Ultracon played host to a variety of awesome and fun cosplay outfits that provided some great eye-candy the whole weekend.
Ultracon 2014 was a perfect example of a convention making everything around it work for the better of the experience. Despite the small size of the area at the Sheridan Suites and the limited space for attendees to move around in, the convention still provided a quality convention experience for everyone. Not only was there plenty to see and shop around for in the Dealer’s Room and panels, but there was a great and welcoming sense of enthusiasm for con-goers that resonated throughout the whole weekend. It was very hard to find a person who was thoroughly dissatisfied with how the weekend turned out, and that is a great accomplishment for any convention. As Ultracon continues to grow and evolve, it will be very interesting to see just how far this event and staff goes in bringing a great convention to con-goers with each passing year. So far, they are definitely on the right track.