Walker Stalker Con, the conference for fans of shows like Walking Dead recently came to Nashville. Matthew and I went last year and decided to go back again this year, this time thanks to some media passes provided to us by the conference. Nashville was the first stop of the tour, which also includes Portland, Tulsa, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, New Jersey, London, Germany and Australia.
Matthew and I love the show, The Walking Dead. (You might remember our Walking Dead party.) At Walker Stalker events, fans can meet many of the show’s biggest characters. In Nashville, in attendance were Norman Reedus (Darryl), Jeffery Dean Morgan (Neegan), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Melissa McBride (Carol) and dozens of others.
Walker Stalker Con tickets start at $45 for a day pass. The pass will get you into the event, access to the shopping and viewing of various panels with the actors on the shows. To meet any of the actor, you have to pay extra. Meet and greets start at $40. Don’t be fooled though, you could easily pays a several hundred dollars to $1,500+ if you want to meet many of the stars in attendance.
What to Expect
In the two years we have attended, we have found that most people in attendance fall into two groups – those who pay to meet everyone (and spend a bunch of money doing it!) and those who just come to see the experience and maybe pay to meet one or two people.
Matthew and I fall into the second camp. Last year I met Tom Payne (Jesus). This year, Matthew and I met Scott Wilson (Herschel) and Melissa McBride (Carol).
We also happened upon Norman Reedus on a smoke break outside. He was so kind to everyone, saying hello and even signing a few shirts that people tossed up to him.
Walker Stalker Con is set-up in a big convention center space, with booths set up in the outer perimeter to meet cast members. The interior has vendors selling a variety of Walking Dead paraphernalia, comics, illustrations, etc. You’ll also find food and drink (including alcohol).
The heart of the event is meeting cast members 1:1. To meet the a-list cast members in attendance, you must buy a ticket to meet them in advance. This is not an opportunity to talk with your favorite cast member, but literally say hello and smile for a picture. We’re talking 30-45 seconds, TOPS. This year at Walker Stalker Con we did this with Melissa McBride (Carol). We were impressed that as soon as we walked out, we received our 8×10 print.
Other actors have booths where you pay cash to meet them on the spot. The whole event only accepts cash, so bring plenty or plan to use the on-site ATMs. At these booths, you will get a little more time with the actor or actress, but it still moved quickly. Unless you have strong willpower, expect to be impulsive and pay to meet someone. Honestly, you sort of feel like you have to because there is not much else to do at the event.
We impulsively decided to meet Scott Wilson (Herschel) and he was just as kind as you would hope. Last year I did the same with Tom Payne (Jesus).
Is it worth it?
So is Walker Stalker Con worth it? Yes and no. Yes, in that it is a fun experience seeing all the cast members in one place. No in that you don’t get much with a general admission ticket. If you don’t plan to meet anyone (or even if you meet a few people), you will likely only spend two hours there.
The Walker Stalker site boasts free family friendly activities, but I am not sure what that is referring to. The Nashville event had one free photo opp spot. They do offer free panels, which are fun to hear a cast member talking, but if you aren’t planning to do many meet and greets, you will likely only catch one or two of them.
The event really should consider modeling itself after a conference that offers workshops, as this would make for a much better experience for general admission attendees. For instance, workshops on how to do your own zombie make-up, Talking Dead style breakouts with writers of the show, demonstrations on how they create sound effects, etc.
Matthew and I enjoyed our experience again this year, but we went in knowing what to expect. It certainly is a unique experience that brings us up close and personal with some of our favorite shows.
Have you been to Walker Stalker Con? What did you think of it?