So you've decided to add your life force to the mass of people descending on the Tampa Convention Center for this weekend's Metrocon, Florida's largest anime convention. In its 11th year, the massive event brings big-name voice actors Janet Varney, Dante Basco and Scott McNeil, veteran cosplayers and rave DJs together for one weekend of fandom celebration. We've got you covered with these reminders of where to go, what to see and what you'll need to make this weekend epic.
You bought a ski mask, white wig and bubble vest to top off your costume of Naruto's Kakashi Hatake. But before you hit your front door, consider that you're going to an anime convention in FLORIDA in JULY. Experts recommend you pack a small bag with change of clothes if you plan on walking around outside the Tampa Convention Center. Bay News 9 meteorologists predict a 40 percent or more chance of rain every day, so also toss an umbrella in the bag.
Early birds will grab the spaces in the Tampa Convention Center garage. Everyone else should stare intensely at a Google map of the area around the Convention Center and memorize where the other city lots and garages are located. Some will require you to walk a couple of blocks, such as the Fort Brooke Garage on Franklin and Whiting streets. However, a short walk is better than coming back to find a bright orange envelope on your windshield because you found a spot on the street and forgot to feed the beast, or worse, being towed because you parked in private lot unknowingly.
More than 8,000 people attended Metrocon last year. Fewer than 3,000 pre-registered. If you're planning on getting the most out of all three days, get up early on Friday and line up long before the convention doors open at 9 a.m. If you want to get registered and in before anything starts, shoot for being in line by 8 a.m., said Kelly Swartz, who works with Metrocon's registration team.
No food vendors will be on the convention floor, so hungry cosplayers have two options: purchase Tampa Convention Center concessions or take it to the streets. Downtown Tampa offers everything from Italian to Vietnamese to Mexican, but only if you're willing to walk. If walking sounds unpleasant, consider Trolleys American Cafe inside the host hotel, Embassy Suites, 513 S Florida Ave.
Events Not To Miss
First timers, here's your warning shot. Everyone at Metrocon will want to see the Anime Human Chess Match and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog Show. The live-action battle between your favorite characters during the chess match kicks off at noon Saturday and Sunday, so be prepared to stand in line for a while. On midnight Friday going into Saturday, the actors from Crazy Random Happenstance will act out Dr. Horrible, the Joss Whedon cult-classic web musical, right in front of the big screen, like a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show.