Yama Con is an event that I’ve been to once before, but that was before I started writing about my convention experiences. It’s been four years since I’ve attended this event and I was excited to see how much has changed and was really satisfied with what I saw.
The guest list was a bit larger than what this con had four years ago. Like most years this con had Johnny Young Bosch and also had really well-known guests like J Michael Tatum and Wendee Lee. The guest list wasn’t huge in perspective to some of the larger cons I’ve attended; however, for a smaller event like this, the guest list was quite impressive. I’ve seen larger cons with smaller guest lists than this so I was pleasantly surprised. One small hiccup though was the schedule. The names of the autograph sessions and the panels associated with the guests are exactly the same so the staff had to tell people numerous times that guests were at their panels and they were not going to be signing for several hours. The schedule does indicate the difference between the panels and autograph sessions but the indicator is really easy to miss and that was what caused the confusion.
The panels were pretty typical for most cons; Q and A sessions for most of the actors with a few fan discussion panels mixed in. Normally, in this case, I would ask for more of a variety of panels that include interactive events, but due to the con’s location, it’s actually ok to not have all of that. Yama con takes place at the Leconte Center in Pigeon Forge and a trolly stops right at the front of the convention that can take you to the other side of the parking lot to a location called the Island. This location has a wide variety of activities such as a Mirror Maze, Escape Room, Lazor Tag and so much more. The combination of going to the con and having these attractions to do alongside them makes for a very unique and enjoyable experience.
The con didn’t have a massive vendors hall but it was still fun to walk around and do my shopping. Lots of space all over the place, a wide variety of products and I even found one vendor with a ton of Fire Emblem merchandise. I didn’t see that much art though. If anything, I would recommend that the con devotes more resources to add more artists to the event.
The event was a lot of fun. Lacking a bit in panels and artists but local events help to make up for any downtime created because of this. Fun guests and a vendor with so much Fire Emblem merch that I feared for the safety of my wallet. I am glad this event is one I can go to within a short-ish drive. I do think this con would struggle a bit without the amazing local events to supplement for the con’s shortcomings so if this con ever wanted to expand to a bigger venue it would need to improve on the variety of panels and shopping that it offers.