Are you a fan of Star Trek, Starwars or do you enjoy spending your day reading comic books? Maybe you are a fan of cosplay or you enjoy playing games? Then this might be the perfect exhibition for you to go and see. Around twice a year, Flanders Expo in Ghent organizes the FACTS exhibition. With a mix of workshops, unknown and known artists, actors and so much more the day flies by easily.
The exhibition invites famous actors and artists every time as well. For example last year Nathan Fillion (the actor from the tv series castle) and Kristian Nairn (Hodor from Game of Thrones) visited the exhibition. For a small fee you can ask them for a photograph, autograph or ask them a question.
A lot of people like to come to the exhibition in cosplay, so it is the ideal day for you if you love to cosplay. There is also a competition in which you can participate or you can watch. Be careful when wearing weapons for cosplay, the exhibition has explicit rules that you can read on their website. Also be careful when you need a mask for your cosplay to not wear it when on the street outside since Belgian law prohibits wearing masks that cover your face in public. When buying your entrance ticket, you can get a discount if you buy a cosplay ticket. Some of the cosplays are really amazing and you can always ask them for a photograph together.
If you like buying merchandise then this is also the place to be for you. There are many stands that sell different collector items and merchandise that you would otherwise have to buy online. On their site they will place a list of exhibitors beforehand so you can look up the stands you want to visit first.
Every year in the exhibition there are many free workshops available to participate in. They go from learning how to do draw in a certain art style to learning how to play a certain board game. This enables you to get in contact with new things. Sometimes you can also try out new video games that will be released soon. It might also be handy to check beforehand the workshops that will be available on the website, this way you can see if they will interest you or not. All of them are also free and a lot of fun together with your friends.
There is one thing I always do when I am in FACTS. I walk between the stands of the unknown artists and let one artist (the one I like most) make a drawing on commission. The artists available for drawing portrats and such will have their prices displayed and when unsure, you can always ask the person in question. There are artists with many different styles, so the choice is really up to you.
One of the things I really like about the exhibition is that it is placed next to an IKEA. This means that a lot of people go there around noon to eat, since it's really cheap (and it tastes good :) ). So that specific day you can see a mixture of cosplayers eating next to very confused people (since normally you don't see people dressed as pikachu in the IKEA). Just make sure that you get a stamp on your hand (when leaving the exhibition) that ensures your way back in after you have eaten your lunch.
Another tip I can give you if you are not certain of which tram you need to take to the exhibition, is to follow the big group of cosplaying people. I have done this for years and have always found my way to the exhibition hall this way. It might also be handy to buy your ticket online beforehand. The waiting line for buying a ticket is always way longer and takes more time to enter the building. You also can take the tram for free from the station to the exhibition hall when you buy an online ticket beforehand.
If you would like to get a glimpse of the atmosphere you can always take a look at the video below.
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