If you’re like me, you may not be sure where Elkhart is, but wherever it is, just like every other town, they love comic cons. Located in Indiana, the town has a population of just north of 50,000 according to Wikipedia. But they just put on their very own comic con last weekend, and it was such a raging success that the fire marshal had to shut it down at one point. :
On Saturday alone crowds were estimated at nearly 6,400 people and on Sunday that number was around 3,000.
Organizers originally budgeted for only 3,000 people for the entire weekend, but with more than double that number in attendance they’re already planning how to make next year’s even bigger and better.
They say at one point the fire marshal even had to shut the event down on Saturday afternoon because the Lerner was over capacity.
“Which is good news. It means we have to find somewhere bigger for next year,” said Hall of Heroes Owner, Allen Stewart.
As regular readers may know, I love these local con stories. It’s easy to get jaded reading about the latest con wars, or arguing whether cosplay is a pain in the butt or not, but the reality in 2017 is that the fun and frolic of a comic con can bring excitement to even a small venue when its done with heart and authenticity. According to the above news story, even local restaurants were thrilled with this comic con, as they did four times the amount of business for a normal weekend.
“We were expecting it, and I was actually hoping for a little more than we got, but we had a fabulous day. It exceeded normal numbers, so it was great,” said Jeanne Kern, owner of the Vine.
Even the mayor was excited about the success of the event, which was held at a picturesque downtown theater. They’re already talking about a bigger venue for next year. The guest list was modest – Dean Cain, Reb Brown (he once played Captain America), some local cartoonists – 92-year-old Golden Ager Allen Bellman, who worked in the 40s! – and a few other local celebrity types. Activities were basic. But the local media loved the show, and the pictures look charming.
The show was put on by the Hall of Heroes, a museum about superheroes located in Elkhart. I don’t know anything about this venue but they have a nice looking website, as does the con.
If you have any questions about whether cosplay adds to conventions…just look at the photos from this show.
https://twitter.com/IndianaYOJoe/status/840985829271048192 [Top photo of Allen Bellman and wife Roslyn via the Hall of Heroes Facebook page.]
That’s Allen Bellman’s wife Roz, who always dresses as Wonder Woman when he appears at cons!
I was at the event. The mads from mst3k were also in attendance–they did a live show Saturday evening. It was a great show if a bit crowded and a little disorganized. It definitely needs a larger facility–the theater is lovely but not designed for a con. The guy who organized it also has a superhero Museum in his backyard that looks like the Hall of Justice. He’s got thousands of artifacts and old comic books including first issues of Captain America and Sensation.
Was planning on attending this event, but the info on the web page was pretty sparse. I asked them what the Mads from MST3K were charging for photos and they referred me to the page that had no information. I had Trace as a Twitter contact and asked him. Still no dollar amount, he even kind of joked about it and asked what I thought was fair. Kind of soured me on the whole thing and I didn’t bother going. They were the only reason I wanted to go and I have been to plenty of conventions. You know, in advance, what you’re going to pay and it just came off as sloppy. I realize that it was their first one, but comic conventions aren’t new. They aren’t reinventing the wheel.
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