The inaugural FACTS convention was held in 1993. Initially a quite modest event, it has grown over the years. Today, FACTS is one of the largest fan conventions in Europe and the biggest event of its kind in the Benelux. Since 2009, the convention has been held in Flanders Expo, a multi-purpose arena and convention center in Ghent. The event covers over 24,000 square meters and attracts about 30,000 sci-fi, fantasy, comics and anime fans every year.
FACTS is dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, comic books, anime, video games and everything in between. Its programming includes one of the biggest and most prestigious cosplay contests in Western Europe. The best cosplayers are selected in four categories:
- individual cosplay (manga, anime and games);
- individual cosplay (films, fantasy, science fiction);
- group cosplay (manga, anime and games);
- group cosplay (films, fantasy, science fiction).
All competitors always get a huge applause and the winners get a nice prize. Attendees who aren’t going to participate in the contest can still come dressed in a cosplay suit and get a cosplay ticket which is cheaper than a regular one.
Of course, the convention’s programming also includes a bunch of other activities such as gaming competitions, workshops conducted by artists, cosplayers and other experts, film and anime screenings, exhibitions. Several big Star Wars fan clubs such as the 501st Legion and Tee-Kay-421 regularly hold events at FACTS. Over 100 dealers from Western Europe and the USA sell their merchandise at the convention.
Each year FACTS welcomes celebrity guests (comic artists and actors). Over the years, attendees have had a chance to meet Jean-Claude Van Damme, Robert Englund (the Nightmare on Elm Street film series), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Lance Henriksen (the Alien franchise), John Terry (Lost), Anthony Daniels (Star Wars), John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Indiana Jones films), Jeremy Bulloch (Star Wars, Doctor Who), Dirk Benedict (The A-Team, Battlestar Galactica), Don S. Davis (Stargate SG-1, Twin Peaks), etc.