Everywhere I turned, there were fans dressed up as citizens (or monsters) of Vana'diel. The first one I saw was a Monk, and shortly thereafter I ran into the extremely well-costumed Soulflayer. I also ran into a Corsair, a Samurai, a Ranger, a Summoner (in full Artifact Armor and carrying a Carbuncle doll), and the ever-popular scantily-clad mithras. It wasn't uncommon for these fans to be stopped in the corridors of the hotel by other fans as they went from one event to another, asking for a couple of photos. They were only too kind to oblige. Some even acted out little skits; my favorite was an epic battle between the Soulflayer and Carbuncle (being guided by the Summoner).
Some costumes were extravagant. Others were simple. One fan went as a Korrigan (the dark version of the Mandragora). Other than the sprouted leaf on his head and the unique headwear, he basically decked himself out in normal black clothing. But what sold the performance was his impeccable impersonation of the sound a Korrigan/Mandragora makes when attacking. Happy times!
One room held an art exhibit. About 100 hanging-portrait entries were on display, and fans who attended the event were able to vote on which deserved to win. A variety of mediums were used: pen, pencil, watercolor, oil/acrylic paints, 2D and 3D computer graphics, and others were found. Some of the entries were lackluster, but the majority of them captured my imagination. This was some excellent fan art.
But even better, in my opinion, were the crafts. Displayed in a glass case, these artifacts were held in a category all their own (instead of being judged alongside the portraiture). There were over a dozen excellent entries, but my two favorites were "My Little Ixion" (based on "My Little Pony") and the Mandragora Bento Box. In fact, I had meant to ask who made the Bento Box. If it's the young lady who dressed up in all Cooking-craft gear, that would be awesome. But I was unable to determine the creator of this fine piece.
Later that evening, the winners were chosen, but in my opinion, nearly all of the entries deserved awards. I loved this exhibit, and hope for more high-quality entries next year. Also, if someone wants to give me a Bento Box filled with FFXI-shaped goodies, I'll gladly take it.