The Scarefest Convention Survival Guide
September 11-13, 2015
Lexington Convention Center
Each year thousands of people from all over the world flock to Lexington, Kentucky in September for the Scarefest Convention. The Scarefest Convention is the largest horror and paranormal convention in the United States. It is a 3-day weekend packed full of dozens of celebrities, vendors, seminars, games, special events, and parties. Sometimes it is hard to take in the full effect of all that the Scarefest Convention has to offer.
If you are a fan of horrors film and/or the paranormal, the Scarefest Convention is the place for you. You will get a chance to meet and get autographs from several stars that are in many of your favorite horror films.You will also be able to meet many celebrities from a variety of paranormal television shows. The Scarefest Convention also offers several seminars and Q&A panels as well. Vendors come from all over the United States with products, such as ghost hunting equipment, t-shirts, posters, books, DVDs, FX effects, memorabilia, and much more. Also, have the opportunity to get tattoos from talented tattoo artists. There is also a game portal where you can experience a variety of games and activities from cosplay, sci-fi, fantasy, and pop-culture. In addition to all this, there will be special movie viewings, a paranormal investigation, a VIP party, a Costume Ball, and much more.
With all that the Scarefest Convention has to offer, there are a few tips to consider to make the most out of your Scarefest weekend. These are things to consider to make the weekend run smoother and ensure you have the best possible experience.
Buy Tickets in Advance
Although tickets may be purchased at the door for daily admission or weekend passes, buying tickets in advance will help out tremendously. No, there are not a limited number of tickets available for daily admission or weekend passes, but platinum tickets and golden tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Tickets go on sale around December each year. Sometimes the exact date may vary so it is a good idea to keep checking the official website (www.thescarefest.com) each year to a find out when is a good time to purchase advance tickets. Also keep in mind that the ticket pricing may vary according to ticket type, such as daily, weekend, platinum, or golden. Scarefest tickets also make great Christmas and birthday gifts.
Some tickets do require advanced purchasing. These include the platinum and golden ticket holders. There are a variety of perks that come with being a platinum or golden ticket holder.
Golden ticket holders – Aside from receiving a special 3-day weekend pass, including a special lanyard and armband, to the Scarefest Convention golden ticket holders also receive specific VIP treatment, such as early entry, access to the VIP party to hang out with some of the celebrities, an official Scarefest t-shirt (available at the information booth), preferred seating, a goodie bag filled with a variety of gifts and promotions, and much more.
Platinum ticket holders - Platinum ticket holders receive all the perks of golden ticket holders and more. What sets the platinum ticket holders apart from the golden ticket holders is that platinum ticket holders also receive accommodations for two nights for two guests to stay at the Hyatt, which is located at the Lexington Convention Center. Your goodie bag filled with gifts, promotions, and your lanyard and wristbands will be delivered and waiting for you in your room when you arrive. The t-shirts can be picked up at the information booth.
In addition to all of this, you will also have the privilege of “line jumping”. What this means is that you will be able to jump to the head of the line before regular ticket holders. However, keep in mind that this does not automatically place you in the front of the line. There may be other platinum ticket holders ahead of you.
Hero Day is held on the Friday of Scarefest Convention. Hero Day is about honoring our military both active and retired, police force, firefighters, EMS, and correction officers. On Friday only, anyone who falls into one of these categories is allowed into the Scarefest Convention for free. All they need to do is show their agency ID or badge. Times for Scarefest on Fridays generally are from 5:00pm to 10:00pm.
Book Lodging Early
The Scarefest Convention has grown in popularity over the years. You shouldn't expect to just show up and there will always be hotel rooms available close by. In fact, most hotels in the area sell out during the weekend of Scarefest. There are two hotels at the Lexington Convention Center. The Hyatt is located within the convention center and the Hilton is located across the street. These are the first to be booked up for the weekend of Scarefest. Some patrons will actually book rooms a year to two years in advance, just to attend Scarefest.
If you are booking rooms at the Hyatt, be sure to ask for the Scarefest Fan Block rate. You can use the code G-FSCA when you call 1-800-233-1234 to make reservations. If you are going to stay at the Hilton during Scarefest weekend, you can call 1-877-539-1648 and mention the Group Code: Horror to receive a discounted rate.
Just five minutes down the road on Broadway there are more hotels. Some of these include Springhill Suites, The Inn on Broadway, and the Campbell House. The Holiday Inn Suites isn't far away either. But again, even these hotels fill up quickly.
The Campbell House also runs a special rate for Scarefest fans. In order to receive the discounted rate you should call (859) 255-4281 and you must mention Group Code: SCF. Also not far from the Lexington Convention Center is the Four Points by Sheraton. You can call 1-888-627-8157 and ask for the Scarefest Block rate.
Located just 4 miles away from the Lexington Convention Center is the Clarion. If you call (859) 233-0512 and request the Scarefest Block by a specific date, which varies each year, then you can receive a lower rate.
The Lexington Convention Center and Rupp Area has parking available at 141 W. High Street, which is located across from the Rupp Arena. There are 3,000 parking spaces available. You can also park at one of the many downtown Lexington parking garages. Here is a list of the parking garages within a 10 minute or less walking distance from the Lexington Convention Center.
List of Parking Garages
- 112 W. Short Street
- 241 W. Short Street
- 339 W. Short Street
- 350 West Short Street
- 167 E. Short Street
- 150 East Vine Street
- 150-160 W. Main Street
- 250 W. Main Street
- 114 N. Upper Street
- 105 Barr Street (approximately a 10 minute walk)
*Pricing may vary from garage to garage. It could range form $3.00 to $35 a day.
The Scarefest Hours
Golden & Platinum Tickets: 4 pm - 10pm
General Public 5pm - 10pm
Golden & Platinum Tickets: 10am - 9pm
General Public : 11am - 9pm
Golden & Platinum Tickets: 10am - 4pm
General Public: 11am - 4pm
*Note: This does not include the hours of after-hour events and activities. Please check the website for more information on special event times.
Arriving early will help you get closer to the head of the line to purchase tickets and get your armbands. The lines start getting long an hour or two before the Scarefest convention is opened to the public, even for golden and platinum ticket holders. Sometimes the lines are so long that it starts at the Scarefest Convention entrance and wraps all the way through the door and around to the food court.
Make sure you visit the ticket booth before getting in line to enter the Scarefest convention. You will need to have your armband visible to security to be able to get in. So while you are waiting in line, make sure you affix your armband securely to your wrist. As you get to the entrance, make sure the armband is clearly visible for the entrance security to see. This will help the line move faster.
Wear Comfortable Shoes
Expect to do a lot of walking at the Scarefest Convention, therefore, it is best to wear comfortable shoes. The folks running this 3-day event want you to enjoy your time at the Scarefest Convention and be able to take in all it has to offer, so you don't want to have to worry about your feet hurting you due to the type of shoes you are wearing.
Some people enjoy dressing up in costume while attending the Scarefest Convention and that is definitely encouraged, but also consider your feet. If you must wear shoes that may not be the best for standing or walking in for long hours, consider bringing a change of shoes so that you can switch shoes if need be.
So what is the best type of shoes to wear to the Scarefest Convention? Most people agree that a comfortable pair of tennis shoes or sneakers. Walking shoes are great. Not all people agree to this. Some people find that flip flops are more comfortable than tennis shoes. So again, it comes down to knowing your own feet and comfortability. Just remember that you will be on hard concrete floors for most of the weekend.
Map Out Your Experience
Before attending and getting the full effect of the Scarefest Convention, consider mapping out your experience. The Scarefest Convention website is the best place to start. It will have up-to-date announcements of stars and celebrities who will be attending, a list of vendors, more information on seminars, the gaming portal, parties, movie viewings, featured sponsors, and much more.
Once you arrive and receive a Scarefest Convention program, take time to look through it. In the past the Scarefest program has not only listed stars and vendors, but has included a seminar schedule, map of the venue, and other information that will help you maximize your Scarefest experience.
Plenty of Cash
Having plenty of cash on hand will also help with enjoying the weekend even more. Each star, or celebrity, will charge for autographs. It is difficult to know exactly how much, since each star has different pricing. They may charge anywhere from $25 - $40, but the average cost for an autograph is $35. Sometimes a film still or other photo of the star comes with it, but some stars charge extra for the picture. Again, pricing is set by the individual celebrity. Having smaller bills, such as $20s, $10s, and $5s, to give exact change will help save time and move lines along faster. It also allows more time in conversation with the star because he or she will be less focused on counting back change. Carrying smaller bills will also help when it comes to purchasing items from vendors and the concession stand as well.
Standing in Line
Many of the celebrities have people waiting in line to meet them and get their autographs. Some lines are longer than others. The key is to have patience. Also, you should note that there is an entrance and exit to the celebrity lines. Do not try to go through the exit. Also note that platinum ticket holders have the privilege of line jumping, meaning they can go to the head of the line. However, they will alternate line jumping in order to be fair and keep the lines flowing smoothly. A STAPH member should be on hand to help coordinate this and if you have any questions regarding where the line begins and ends. There is usually a STAPH member at most of the horror celebrity lines. This is to help things flow more smoothly and minimize confusion.
Carry a Bag
It is a good idea to carry a bag of some sort. This will help leave you hands-free to better enjoy the Scarefest convention. Some patrons like to carry a fanny pack that allows them to put their money, identification, and credit cards in front of them and close at all times. Although, there is better traffic flow at the Scarefest Convention than most other conventions, it can still get congested in certain parts.
Also consider carrying a messenger bag or backpack. This allows you to tuck away any celebrity photos and autographs. Depending on your purchases from the vendors, you may be able to tuck away those purchases as well without having to run to your vehicle or hotel room, or having to carry them around all day.
Food and Drink
Because there is so much to do at the Scarefest Convention, many people are there from early morning hours until way after the sun goes down. At some point you will have to stop for food and drink.
There is generally a concession stand open within the main convention area. It serves a variety of stadium foods and drink, including beer. If you want something more filling, you could head over to the food court of the Lexington Convention Center. There you will find Subway, Arby's, and other popular restaurant chains.
There are dozens restaurants and several pubs in or close to the downtown area of Lexington, Kentucky. Many of which are within walking distance of the Lexington Convention Center. Many people choose to have dinner at Tolly-Ho, Shakespeare and Co., Colombia Steak House, and many others.
You are encouraged to bring your camera to Scarefest. Not only does the Scarefest Convention love seeing fan photos, but it is a great way to immortalize your experience at Scarefest. There is even an area as you enter the Scarefest Convention with a Scarefest backdrop to pose for pictures. This is the same area that the Black Carpet event (just like a Red Carpet event in Hollywood) takes place.
There are some things to consider when taking photographs. When it comes to celebrity and stars, you need to ask their permission first. A few of the stars and their agents charge for photographs. Although many are good about it, especially if you are buying an autograph or still photo. As a rule of thumb, just ask before you take a picture or film a video with the celebrities in it.
STAPH & Security
The Scarefest Convention prides themselves on having knowledgeable STAPH (staff) members and security. Although an information booth is available, feel free to approach any STAPH member if you have any questions or concerns. STAPH members will have on a neon yellow shirt that says “STAPH” on the back and security STAPH will be wearing regular yellow shirts with “SECURITY” across the back.
Generally speaking weapons are not allowed at the Lexington Convention Center. If you want a film prop, machete, chainsaw, or other horror film related weapon signed, the Lexington Convention Center has made an exception for the Scarefest Convention with some regulations attached. For safety reasons, you will have to keep all weapon related props contained in a box, case, sheath, or other safety container. Keep in mind that after you have it signed by the star of your choice, you may not walk around with it. You will have to take the item to your car before continuing to enjoy the convention.
The Scarefest Convention is an event you do not want to miss. Attendees of all ages enjoy meeting and talking with the stars and other wonderful people that set up at the convention. The stars also love connecting with their fans and hearing the support they have for their contribution within the industry.
Planning your trip early will help you to enjoy the full affect of the convention. With a little planning to maximize your Scarefest Convention experience, you will see why so many people return year after year. With each passing year, the Scarefest Convention gets bigger and better. The people who organize this event always brings something new to the convention each year to create a unique experience each time you attend. For the most up-to-date information on the Scarefest Conventions, visit their official website at http://scarefestcon.com.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan