Long Beach Convention Center, Long Beach, CA
Okay... look... I know most of you can't read and those who can are barely literate and only come to Westcoaster for the pictures much like I read Playboy for the articles. But I just wanted to take a quick minute and give you a basically all words thingy to give my impressions of the Midsummer Scream event that took place over the weekend... at least before Albert rolls in with his own opinions and photos.
So let's get the bad out of the way quick... the parking situation at the Long Beach Convention Center sucks... but that's not Midsummer Scream's fault... that lands squarely on the Convention Center's under-built infrastructure.
Now that we got that out of the way... let's get to the good. The rest of it.
Midsummer Scream came about, in the grand scheme of things, at the very last possible minute. And I have to throw it to the Creative Director Rick West and his team... they pulled this stuff together in spectacular fashion. A larger, more centralized venue at the Long Beach Convention Center... perfect location. Right by Shoreline Village and the Pike retail and dining centers... and having spent a great deal of my life living in Belmont Shore, etc... I couldn't be more happy to see such a large event coming to my very favorite city in Southern California. Anything that brings business to Long Beach makes me a happy little camper.
And then there's the vendors, presentations, etc. Holy crap, ya'll! They opened the event with a panel discussion featuring some true legends in the themed entertainment industry. Hosted by Rick West (himself no slouch in the business), we were treated to stories on scary/thrilling attraction design by Susan Bonds (Indiana Jones at Disneyland, Alien Encounter and Mission: Space at Walt Disney World), Phil Hettema (Men In Black, Spiderman, Jurassic Park, etc, etc, etc for Universal), Gary Goddard (Terminator 2: 3D, etc, etc, etc) and Tony Baxter (who?). That was the opener... seriously. Who gets those kinds of people on the same stage at the same time? Rick West... that's who.
From there they had presentations from Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Six Flag's Magic Mountain's Fright Fest and of course Knott's Scary Farm. The second stage presentations were not slouches in any way either... specials on escape rooms, Atlas Obscura was on hand to talk about Ghost Towns, Doug Barnes hosted a panel on Haunted Theme Parks, the Winchester Mystery House was on hand (and gave everyone in attendance an annual pass!), Delusion, etc. Guys, this event was balls to the wall amazing!
Then on the show floor you had a ton of vendors selling any sort of haunted paraphernalia, websites like Horror Buzz, Jeff Tucker was there with his 91 Reasons podcast with tons of great kitschy stuff to buy... the high-flying Decayed Brigade doing slider shows... the Hall of Shadows had a bunch of mini-haunt mazes. We were able to hit most everything... and a very special shout out to Higgins Manor, Fear Station, Spooky Hollows, and Gorelesque for some truly great experiences yesterday!
Oh... and I would be a criminal if I didn't mention the Oingo Boingo dance party and costume contest on Saturday night, hosted by Jeff Tucker and featuring original members of Oingo Boingo! Seriously... SERIOUSLY! Hopefully this comes back next year...
This was an absolutely fantastic start for this event and I cannot wait to see what the future brings, ya'll! Hats off to the creative team who put this together. You all did the fans right in so many ways! Thank you...
Also... a special shout out to our friends Doug and Bob from The Season Pass Podcast, Gregg and Matt from Park Journey, and all the wonderful friendly faces we saw over the course of the weekend for making the event just that much more special. See ya'll in the fog...
Twerking Ice Cream Cone. Velociraptor. 5 Time Squirrel Herding Champion. Super Hero.