When it comes to conventions, there are a variety of factors that can make or break guests’ experiences. Some of these factors are sometimes out of the control of the event’s coordinator while others are perfectly in their control. So what can make or break a convention? The weather, the building’s temperature, guests not showing up, overcrowding, or broken promises can all be factors as such. At the Winter 2023 Steel City Con, only one of these would be a factor and that would not be without the staff trying to prevent it from happening. So what went down at Steel City Con Winter 2023?
Before the convention even started, Sam Raimi had to cancel due to prior commitments and overlaps in his schedule. Luckily, Sam Raimi was the only special guest to cancel for Steel City Con Winter 2023. In prior years and prior dates, multiple guests have had to cancel and reschedule for a future Steel City Con; this winter variation welcomed Giancarlo Esposito, who had to cancel his prior attendance.
For the first time, as long as we have been attending, Steel City Con managed to sell out both the three-day passes as well as the individual day passes; this is partially due to the Scream reunion, A Christmas Story Reunion, Kiefer Sutherland, Popular Breaking Bad cast members, and prominent voice actors, Tara Strong and Charles Martinet. If you want to see the list of all the special guests and how much certain interactions cost, you can click here.
From Friday to Sunday, Steel City Con hosted multiple panels for guests to attend. At these panels, the host would direct some of the earlier questions and then later in the panel open it up to the audience to ask some of their own. During the convention, this was the case for almost every panel except one, The Scream panel; during the Scream panel, the host opened up the questions to the audience immediately.
What made the Scream panel even more special was that Skeet Ulrich and Matthew Lillard went out to the crowd and interacted with guests directly. The two moved through the crowd and answered questions about mental health, movie franchises, and even favorite foods. Despite the room being a sauna, guests were eager to interact with Lillard. This excitement was partially due to Matthew Lillard’s line being capped completely throughout all three days.
Happy to See Attendees and guests (Lillard & Fabian)
When we asked guests who their favorite guest was most either answered Matthew Lillard or Patrick Fabian. According to different guests, both men took the time to make each guest feel welcomed and even like they were getting a special interaction. Fabian’s line was shorter than some, but when it was slower, he took the time to talk to whoever was there and learn about his fans; at one point Fabian was talking to the same group of people for over thirty minutes.
In regards to Matthew Lillard, Lillard (Shaggy) went out of his way to make his guests feel noticed which fans appreciated. While people were waiting in line, if he saw that they had a small child, he’d have them jump to the front of the line. Any fan art or items given to him were displayed at his booth. Out of everyone at the convention, Lillard arguably had the biggest booth.
Knowing that the Scream and a Christmas Story cast would garner a lot of attention, they had them located in the hotel next to the convention center. Each day, Lillard was typically the first one to arrive and the last one to leave. Even on the final day, he stayed three hours past closing to make sure that all of his fans who waited in line got the chance to meet him.
Excitement but at a Cost
Unlike some of the prior Steel City Cons, the Winter 2023 Steel City Con felt more energetic. The celebrity guests felt like they wanted to be there and were feeding off the energy that the fans gave them. A majority of the prior issues that we experienced at other Steel City Cons were managed and even the one that was out of their control was still handled to the best of the convention’s ability.
With the energy that guests brought and the energy that the celebrities gave back, this was without a doubt the best version of Steel City Con that we have attended. If all future Steel City Cons were like the Winter 2023 one, the con would continue to grow exponentially. The only downside for some is the financial cost; in order to attend, you need to buy a ticket.
The ticket grants access to the event where guests can walk around and sit in panels, but the panel room has become too small for the panels it is hosting. If you want an autograph and photo with a certain celebrity, it is anywhere from $40 to $250; with the US currently going into a recession, many guests will have to pick and choose who they want to interact with, which hurts both attendees and the special guests.
Hopefully, something can be figured out to have more of a balance. If you want to potentially meet some of your favorite celebrities, Steel City Con is a great way to do so. If future Steel City Cons are anything like the Winter 2023, attendees will have a great time and walk away with memories and a cherished experience. If you want to check out photos from the event, look at the gallery down below. The Gallery also includes the finalists in the Adult Costume Contest.