The artist alley was in the same room as the exhibitors which is a huge plus for artists
Personally, I am a vendor, and I live in SoCal. So it becomes an expensive trip. I would have made more money if I hadnt invested so much in merchandise as I was expecting a much larger audience. So I got merch for days now. I feel like it isn’t 22,000 people. Definitely did not feel like it. I think it’s closer to possibly 15k -12k throughout the entire weekend.
I made decent money and had a lot of hype. But just wasn’t enough for how much I expected in sales. Since I thought there would be more people.
But I say if you’re more local, definitely go for it and make yourself stand out!
All of the artists and attendees at this con were really nice people. We made a lot of friends and shared a lot of laughs. Enjoyed doing art trades with fellow artists!
Downtown Sacramento is a nice place to visit with a handful of nearby hotel options and LOTS of yummy food!
The venue is incredibly spacious-- nearly *too* large, in my opinion. While the con's attendance has ballooned in recent years, it's still not quite enough to fill the amount of space the exhibit hall had at the last show. By the same token, the adding of several more tables, while logical when considering the number of applicants, exacerbated the problem with the space:attendee ratio. The crowds felt extremely thin compared to previous shows, though it is of course a problem that will likely fix itself over time. The guests are also placed in the same area as the vendors and artists, and attendance in the hall may be better or worse depending on guest popularity.
I've also noticed that, in general, the SacAnime crowd is very young. In my case, that meant fewer sales, especially considering that younger kids have less money to spend and don't always have the attention span to fully explore a very, very large artist alley. The con demographics may also change over time, but it's something to be aware of.
There's a lot of food in the immediate area, most of it inexpensive and quick (even for a con weekend, when a lot of fast/cheap joints are slowed down tremendously). There's also a FedEx Office nearby in case of print emergencies!
Overall this con is a favorite of mine, admittedly largely because it's close enough that even if I don't do as well as I'd like, I don't really lose any money. The new artist alley staff have enhanced the experience quite a bit, and I'm hopeful that the attendee count will grow to match the generous amount of space we're given. Would recommend!
The AA tables are 8 feet long and the ceiling is very high. I appreciate this immensely because my display is big and sprawling and SacAnime gives me plenty of room. There is also ample space behind the tables which is so very nice because it's quite a hassle when there isn't enough room.
The Artist tables are in the back half of the dealer's room. This is always my favorite place for them, because the dealer's room is almost always the most popular place in the con, and even in the back, you're still in the same room. Also, it makes it easy if you ever want to do some shopping yourself. Restrooms line the room at the front and the back. Loading is via the loading docks at the back of the hall.
The convention is well attended and lively. The guest list is long and eclectic. They haven't gotten to the level where they are attracting A-list japanese guests yet but they're still growing. The hotels are nearby and (compared to the bay area) relatively inexpensive. There are a good selection of local restaurants within easy walking distance.
As mentioned, the tables are sold on a first come first served basis. They will announce when the AA table registration opens and it's usually very soon after the last convention. (SacAnime happens twice a year, on the first weekend in January and on Labor Day weekend in September) Even though there are a lot of AA tables, they will sell out in minutes, so when they announce the registration, you will need to be ready, watching the website like a hawk. (this might be an indicator that perhaps the AA tables are a little underpriced)
One thing of note - if you are not local, make a point of getting to the convention early on Friday. The AA policy is that if an artist doesn't show up by noon on Friday, they may give away that AA table to somebody on the wait list. This can be extremely troublesome if, like this year, Friday happens to be New Year's Day. I don't know if anybody actually lost their tables in this fashion, but it is a stated policy last I checked.