First day of Gen Con busier than ever downtown

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By Jill Glavan

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 14, 2014) -- Gen Con has arrived in downtown Indianapolis and this year was busier than ever on the first day.

In between the costumes, the vendors and the live games, it was the amount of people that was the talk of the hallways Thursday.

"(It's) a lot of fun. Crowded, of course, but we expect that from last year," visitor Susanna Parish said.

Parish and her husband came in from Cleveland and they've noticed how the event has exploded in popularity.

"We started planning in December," Parish's husband Jean-Paul said.

It raised the question, is the convention outgrowing Indianapolis?

Not, so, Gen Con's CEO Adrian Swartout said. Though she didn't shy away from talk about future expansion.

"Lucas Oil is a possibility (but) it gets tricky because usually there is a (Colts) preseason game. If we were going to use that space, we have to plan a year in advance," Swartout said.

For their part, Visit Indy said they'd work more on conversations over issues like parking and hotel space in the coming years.

"This is the kind of show and event that happens in Indianapolis that brings exposure beyond what the typical convention brings," President and CEO Leonard Hoops said.

The two have a contract to keep Gen Con in Indianapolis through at least 2020.

"We really love Indianapolis. I think that it's an amazing convention city and ... there's not another city that has the kind of downtown that Indianapolis has," Swartout said.

She wouldn't estimate crowd size until after the event. It was obvious, though, that this year is sure to be a big number.

"This is a great city for it. We've had a lot of fun every year that we've been here," Parish said.