For most cosplayers, con season is the busiest time of the year when it comes to conventions. Every cosplayer’s con season is different, but usually, the busiest time of the year for conventions is right before, during, and right after summer.
My con season was a bit crazy in 2017, so I wanted to talk about some of the events I attended. These are events I ended up attending as a press or cosplay guest. As a result, I was able to see all sorts of aspects of each event from the inside out. Now that the events and my con season are just about over, I want to share my experiences and information about each event so you can check them out for yourself next year!
In this post let’s talk about Eternal Con, held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum!
What Is Eternal Con?
Eternal Con is Long Island’s largest pop culture event. It was a 2-day event held on July 1st and 2nd. It marked the event’s 5th year. Eternal Con had previously taken place at the Cradle of Aviation in Garden City, New York. In order to accommodate the event’s growth, the convention was moved. Its new location is the Exhibition Hall at NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
What Can You Do There?
Autograph sessions are a highlight at Eternal Con. They always have a great selection of celebrity guests that come for autographing sessions throughout the convention. For 2017, they had Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool 1 and 2), Lee Meriwether (Batman ’66, Star Trek, Time Tunnel), Paul Blake (Greedo in Star Wars), WWE and UFC Fighter CM Punk, Helen Slater (Supergirl, Legend of Billie Jean, Smallville), Maggie Geha (Poison Ivy in Gotham), WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, former WWE and ECW Fighter Tommy Dreamer, and former WWE Diva Ashley Massaro. All of the autograph sessions were lined up against the back wall of the Dealers’ Room.
Aside from celebrity guests, Eternal Con had a large Dealers’ Room with all sorts of merchandise to look through. Within the Dealers’ Room, Eternal Con also had an indoor car show including the 1966 Batmobile, Mad Max Interceptor, the Delorean from Back to the Future, the Bat Tumbler from the newer Batman movies, and various others.
There were also a few panels at the convention. Some were held on the Main Stage and some were held in a hallway just outside the Dealers’ Room.
How Much Is It? How Do I Get There?
There are various ticket options for Eternal Con. For kids, tickets range from $12-$25, depending on if you were getting a single day ticket or a weekend pass.
Tickets range from $25 for a Sunday pass, $29 for a Saturday pass, or $50 for a weekend pass for adults. Then there is the VIP pass for $100. The VIP pass includes special VIP Lanyard, 2-day weekend pass to Eternal Con, 1 fast pass per guest, 1-hour-early entry into the show on Saturday and Sunday, Eternal Con t-shirt or exclusive print, and front row seating to all panels.
There are various ways to get to the Nassau Coliseum. The easiest is by car. If you’re coming from Manhattan or Long Island, you can take the Southern State Parkway to exit 22N (Meadowbrook Parkway North) to exit M4 and follow the signs that lead to the Nassau Coliseum. From Long Island, you can also take the Long Island Expressway West (495) to exit 39 (Glen Cove Road south) to Old Country Road. Turn left and go east for one (1) mile to Merrick Avenue. Then turn right to the Nassau Coliseum.
If you do take public transportation, you can take the Long Island Railroad to Hempstead train station, and walk one 1 block to the Hempstead Bus Terminal. Take either the N70, N71, or N72 bus, which will drop you off on Hempstead Turnpike opposite the Coliseum. Another option is taking the LIRR to Westbury train station and secure a taxi or car service.
There are various cosplayers moving throughout the event. The Cosplay Contest is held late Saturday afternoon. This time around, the Main Stage moved to the Dealers’ Room. It was a large stage to the far left of the room with seating.
From Eternal Con’s website: “Eternal Con’s new Cosplay Contest is a unique event held with a pre-judging session and a walk-through display. Last year we had many great costumes and we look forward to having more in 2017! Judges will be looking at the costume itself, the workmanship, design, and inspiration. This will be open to groups and individuals, experts and novices, and costumes from mainstream or self-creative. All genres are welcome, including film, television, theater, comics, video games, sci-fi, anime, horror and original creations!”
I left just as they were lining up the cosplayers to the right of the main stage. There was no backstage for the judges, cosplayers, or announcers, as there was a wall directly behind the Main Stage curtain. Contestants lined up to the side of the stage in clear view of the audience.
It was Eternal Con’s first year at the Nassau Coliseum. It’s to be expected that the first year in a new venue will have its issues. Regardless, it mostly felt like a smooth transition from the Cradle of Aviation to the Coliseum.
It was great that everything was centered in one room, but it was also a disadvantage. Even with microphones, it was hard to focus on whoever was on stage when the volume of the Dealers’ Room was competing for dominance. Piggybacking off of that, the autograph booths were to the left of the Main Stage. Any noise coming from there was also competing with the ongoings on the Main Stage.
As mentioned above, there was a little hallway just outside of the Dealers’ Room. The hallway had a small area set up with a few seats for mini-panels to be held. This was a major disservice to the attendees and facilitators of the panel. Facilitators didn’t have a panel room, they had a panel space in a hallway. It felt very misplaced and awkward.
And as for cell service and Wi-Fi? There wasn’t much. If you needed to connect to Wi-Fi, you had to pay for it. This included the dealers. Many of them use Square and other apps to accept credit card payments. However, in order to do so, they need to be able to connect to either Wi-Fi or their cell service. Cell service was minimal as the location was the lower level of the Coliseum. The dealers accepting card payments at the event had major issues connecting and staying connected to the Wi-Fi. It didn’t matter that they had paid for it. Unless the Coliseum fixes this problem, be sure to bring cash!
There was also severe lack of communication between Eternal Con staff, Coliseum staff, and security. Attendees waiting to enter the convention were given a different story of what was happening, when, and where. If an attendee had a question, it was hard to keep track of the right information. One shouldn’t take this as anyone’s fault. It was the first year at a new venue and the Coliseum does not usually, if at all, host events of this caliber. This snafu should improve in 2018 now that all parties know what to expect.
I attended Eternal Con for their setup on Friday night, June 30th, to assist Fat Guy Inc. set up their artist table. It was interesting watching all of the artists and dealers arrive and set up. Seeing everything that goes into a convention gives me a better appreciation for the event. It was great to witness everyone hard at work to create a wonderful weekend for attendees. Staff, dealers, artists … everyone worked very hard and it was clear to see on Friday night.
For the con itself, I only attended on Saturday, July 1st. There were a lot of interesting dealers with great merchandise to look at and enjoy. They had a diverse mix of celebrities to talk to and get autographs from as well. I spent the majority of the convention walking through the Dealers’ Room interacting with cosplayers, dealers, artists, and attendees. It was a nice mix of genres from wrestling, to comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and others. If comics and sci-fi are your thing, this con is for you. I would recommend checking it out for sure.
Eternal Con 2018 is scheduled for June 16th and 17th at the Nassau Coliseum. Be sure to keep an eye on their website, as they update it leading up to the con itself. I’ll definitely be there as well to see what changes come into play in their second year at the Coliseum. It’ll be my third year in a row going. I’m looking forward to seeing what is store for us this time!