The expo ends on a bittersweet note.
There's something you should know about me: I absolutely hate saying goodbye to people whom I like. I'm the kind of guy who misses my roommate if he's away for a few days, so you can imagine how I felt at the end of the Escapist Expo. After three all-too-short days with old friends from Boston and Baltimore and new friends from as far away as Ireland, I didn't really want the expo to end. I would have much rather stayed for another few days (or weeks). But since all good things must come to an end, at least the expo ended with a bang.
Even the weather knew that we would be heading out soon, as two gorgeous days of sunshine gave way to a wet, cloudy morass that made the ground slick and outdoor activities tough. Inside, the attitude was a little more subdued as well. The staff and the attendees were all a little weary, but still wore big, genuine smiles everywhere they went. If there was only one day left, they were determined to make the most of it.
After a final stint at the RPG signup booth (D&D Next was easily the most popular game at the show, with every single session booked solid hours in advance), I caught the acclaimed Hour of Love panel that involved, among other things, Jim Sterling singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" and Yahtzee wearing a pair of telepathic cat ears. If you weren't there, all I can say is that you should carve out an hour to watch it. I hadn't laughed that hard in months.
While many Escapists attended panels involving Gavin from Miracle of Sound and the always-insightful Dr. Mark, others took one last chance to check out the retro arcade, play some tabletop or card games, take part in an RPG, or simply walk the halls with their fellow con-goers, making sure to exchange contact information before they returned to the far corners of the Earth. An exciting League of Legends tournament with a surprise upset victory ran right up until the expo floor closed, and provided some down-to-the-wire excitement.
I stayed as long as I could to help pack up and shared one final dinner with the Escapist crew, but time is a harsh mistress, and she demanded that I get some sleep before my long drive back to New York. Will it really be a whole year before I see all of the wonderful fans, contributors, and staff who made the Escapist Expo such an unforgettable experience?
All I can do now is count down the days until the next one, and say thanks to everyone - both attendees and fans cheering us on at home - who made this event so special.