Disappointment at #LACookieCon

“LA Cookie Con & Sweets Show: the West Coast’s Biggest Baking, Decoration and Pastry Convention!”

How does that not sound cool, amirite?

But then you see the title and clearly something has gone wrong.

I took the Metro line down to the Convention Center and the first thing I notice is an immense lack of signage: I literally have no idea where to go. I walk inside the closest building and after looking around for a minute, I finally spot a banner above the hallway where the convention is being held. But other than that? Nothing. No sandwich boards, no banners hanging from the rafters, nada.

And then I find the registration line.

Ohhhh that mess of a registration line. I spent fifty minutes in line to trade my ticket for a wrist band. I’m about ten from the front when a guy goes, “does anyone here have a one day pass? You don’t need a wrist band, just go up to the door and you can be scanned in.”

Commence swearing here – and I wasn’t the only one. A LOT of people were upset and I don’t blame them.

While it technically did work, they didn’t do anything like say, set out a box of programs for those who entered that way. So no wrist band, no program. I’d complain about not getting a bag either except the show didn’t even have one of those. Not a tote, not a printed plastic bag. Nada. Have these guys ever actually been to another convention before?!

Anyway. So I get inside! Huzzah!

The first thing I notice? It’s small. If this is the “biggest” then the other shows must have been minuscule.  Technically there were about one hundred booths – I’m not counting the VIP areas that were only available for VIPs because that’s kinda bullshit – but take out a dozen or so for completely unrelated things: roofers, Lyft, Yelp, silk-screen shirt printers and savory food. Another dozen had some random baking supplies – cookie cutters here, molds there, fondant there – and the rest were all companies hawking their pre-made goods. On the one hand, samples! Hooray! On the other hand: where’s the water? You can’t eat sweet on sweet on sweet on sweet without something to break it up and water stations were nigh impossible to be found. I’d settled for a booth to buy water from, but I think only one stand sold that kind of thing and it had a super long line and nope.

Going back to the few booths actually selling supplies. I was SO disappointed by that. These kind of conventions often have suppliers hawking there wares at a nice discount. I was hoping that I’d find some tools at reasonable prices to round out my collection and there was practically nothing to be had. And there were zero general supply stores anywhere. Just very disappointing in light of the “baking, decoration and pastry” title. If you were looking for decoration items you were most likely to find something you might want. Anything else? Pfft.

Oh, and finally, I feel like they oversold tickets to the show. Once the crowd had really filled in you could barely approach some of the booths because everything was packed so tightly together: floor planning at the con was pretty awful unaided by the oversized space given to the VIP areas that could have instead been made smaller and allowed for more breathing room in the mian layout.

As for the main stage, they advertised Sarah Michelle Geller at 12 pm. She got pushed back to 12:30. She came on at 12:35 and was done almost ten minutes later after basically delivering an infomercial for her subscription food box. That is not programming, people. I had wanted to stay for Duff Goldman, but then they announced that he was going to be pushed back from 1:00 to 1:30 and that point I was just done because I was seriously afraid that I’d wait another 45 minutes only to have another 10 minute presentation.

There was not two days worth of value there. There’s barely one day worth of value there. This convention felt underbaked and underdone: just not ready for prime time. There were almost no guests of any name there (I don’t count “social media stars” as people of name),  and the booths were way too heavily tilted towards already made food and they clearly got desperate towards the end to let in some of the really random booths.

All told, this feels like it should have been added on as an extension of an existing show instead of a standalone. It is a young show (only it’s second year) so some glitches are to be expected, but this just goes beyond that. Avoid this one for a few more years and see if they can’t get it together before you try attending for yourself.

 

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