LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – For years, Fandomfest has brought thousands to Louisville for a weekend of fun, comics and meet-and-greets with celebrities.
The convention kicks off on Friday but this year sudden changes to the event have led to a fair share of criticism from people.
The location of the event has changed from the Kentucky Expo Center to the former Macy's at Jefferson Mall.
"We had a great experience," Jael Harrington said.
Harrington paints and sells small-scale artwork.
"I'm classically trained, I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art," she said.
Harrington said she had a great time at Fandomfest last year when she had a booth.
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"We had such a good experience that when the booths went on sale we bought two for this year," Harrington said. "We were really excited about it."
Excited until she learned of the sudden venue change. They were told abruptly that the event was no longer going to be at the Expo Center but at the former Macy's at Jefferson Mall.
"Information got updated on Facebook and then the following day we got an email that the location had changed," Harrington explained. "It was very short notice."
A location change was not the only thing that was on short notice. Promised celebrities dropped out fast, more than a dozen on the list of cancellations.
"I'm really sorry but I'm not going to make Fandomfest this year, I'm absolutely gutted," Star Wars star Spencer Wilding said in a short Facebook video posted on Fandomfest's page.
Headliners "Weird Al" Yankovic and Burt Ward, who played Robin to Adam West's Batman, also dropped out. On top of that, the Okolona Fire Department said the convention did not ask for approval of the new site until last week.
After an expedited inspection, the fire marshal only approved the site for 1,700 people at a time, while organizers asked for 4,000 for the entire weekend.
"They'll have people posted with a little clicking device," Mike Allendorf described. "So when they hit 17 (hundred), that's it - no one else can go in until someone decides to come out."
Even with all these changes, refunds are still not available for both vendors and visitors. For Harrington, she said she'll continue as planned but said she's apprehensive about coming back next year.
"If I had a little more information, if I knew why it happened the way it happened, I would have a more positive expectation for next year," Harrington said. "Right now I feel pretty much in the dark."
The convention starts Friday afternoon. Okolona Fire crews will check in periodically to make sure the convention stays up to code.