The main attraction for me was one of the advertised celebrity guests: Ryan Hurst. He's best known for playing Gerry Bertier in the Denzel Washington classic Remember the Titans and, more recently, Jax's best friend Opie on Sons of Anarchy. I loved that show and Opie was always one of my favorite characters. I bought the tie-in novel Bratva largely because it brought Opie back. I was looking forward to having Ryan sign it.
As my boyfriend and I stood in line to get into the convention hall, I could hardly wait. However, once inside, we couldn't find Ryan's booth. We made a complete loop around the hall before asking a security guard, who gave us some bad news. Ryan had cancelled (and at the very last minute, because a local radio station had talked about interviewing him the day before). It was very disappointing. Fortunately, the good folks running the convention had found a replacement: Tommy Flanagan, who played Chibs.
My boyfriend and I joined the line. Immediately, the guy in front of us turned around and yelled, "We're gonna meet Chibs!" He had tattoos all over his arms and looked like an extra from the show. Both of us were a little bummed about not meeting Opie, but at least Chibs was still a major character.
The meeting was over within about two minutes. Tommy was polite, but seemed a little dazed; I had the feeling they'd just thrown him on a red-eye flight to get him to the convention in time. He thanked me for being such a big fan of the show and said I was "a lovely little darlin'."
Mission accomplished, my boyfriend and I headed off to enjoy the rest of the convention's offerings. There were a lot of people in costume. I expected to see superheroes; there was a really great bunch dressed as Nick Fury, Captain America, Thor, and Black Widow. I expected to see every incarnation of Doctor Who possible. I kind of expected the many Indiana Jones. What I didn't expect were several Disney princesses and a young guy dressed as Severide from Chicago Fire.
The vendors were an interesting lot, one in particular. This man was selling a series of self-published werewolf detective novels. I commented about the karate Elvis action figure on the table and he launched into a rapid-fire Elvis impersonation that was actually pretty good. He joked that the candy in the collection of Elvis PEZ dispensers tasted like peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
Overall, my first convention was a pretty awesome experience that I'll most likely repeat next year. Hopefully they'll get another actor from Sons of Anarchy to come so I can add to my autograph collection.