My second Joe Fest 2019 is in the books, and I have to say, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite toy conventions of the year! Not only is there more G.I. Joe toys than you can shake a stick at, but there is also loads of awesome vintage and modern toy goodness to be had!
Last year marked the first Joe Fest in Augusta, GA and was housed in a 7,000 square foot space. Needless to say, that while the event was great, it was severely lacking in space (especially with 1,100 visitors) and everything was nerve-wreckingly close.
This year Joe Fest moved to the Double Tree hotel and expanded to 15,000 square feet, with even more vendors than before. This year’s convention saw 2,500 guests, which is more than double of the previous year. Like last year, the show got very congested at times, which made it hard to get from vendor to vendor. Rumors are that next year’s Joe Fest is going to be even bigger and better than this year’s, (which hopefully means more room).
Last year the Roma Collectibles booth caught my attention and introduced me to Boss Fight Studio and their amazing line of Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. action figures. This year I focused on the Marauder “Gun-Runner” booth, and was pleasantly surprised at their offerings. I have purchased from them before, but it was strictly for their clear action figure stands. However, seeing their figures on display was too tempting to pass up.
While at the booth, I asked to play with one of their figures, just to get a feel for them, and I was super impressed with the quality of the plastic and the heft of the figure. That sold me, so I bought a few items to play around with at home.
The dealer room was filled to the brim with fantastic deals on vintage and modern toys (not just Joes). While it is technically a comic book show as well, I really loved the toys were the main attraction. Outside of a couple of vendors, it was nothing, but toys. This is something that I pulls me in, as most shows start out as one thing, and work their way to being mostly about comics. Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid comic book reader, but I love my toys just a bit more, and want to see more shows focus on toys.
There was even a booth with loads of un-produced and prototype G.I. Joe action figures. This one did not allow photography, so I didn’t take any pics or video of their booth, but the things on display there was an awesome look at “what might have been”.
Of course you can’t talk about a convention without mentioning its guest stars! Sgt. Slaughter was on hand this year, and always had a line at his booth. G.I. Joe: ARAH alums Ron Rudat, Larry Hama and Kirk Boizgian. You also had Hank Garrett (the voice of Dial-Tone on the cartoon series) and Keone Young (the voice of Storm Shadow on the cartoon series). All-in-all, a great group of people for G.I. Joe fans to engage with.
With any convention you can’t forget the cosplay and some of the best G.I. Joe cosplay was on display at Joe Fest 2019. As you can see in the image below, cosplayers came as Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Admiral Keel Haul, Shockwave, Firefly, Beachhead and Mutt. There were definitely more than that at the convention, but this was a convenient way to snag one photo with multiple cosplayers. Kudos goes out to the guy dressed as Chuckles walking around the show floor.
I literally can’t wait for next year’s event, which promises to be bigger and better than ever. If you have the chance, I highly recommend you travel to Augusta, Georgia and hit up Joe Fest 2020, (dates should be coming soon). If you are toy fan and especially a hardcore G.I. Joe fan, it will definitely be worth your time and effort to attend!