If you spotted more capes and cowls than usual this past weekend, don’t worry, you didn’t miss Halloween.
The Saskatoon Comic and Entertainment Expo joined forces with Calgary Expo to present a much larger conference at Prairieland Park this year. And talk about a dynamic duo, the merger saw attendance numbers soar to over 8,800 and attracted several high profile celebrity guests.
Stepping onto the convention floor was almost overwhelming. Thousands of people, hundreds of merchants and cosplay everywhere. It took a few laps around Prairieland Park to even know where to start. The floor was divided into an artists’ area with exhibitors displaying their work and a merchants’ area that sold anything from comics to clothing and everything in between. Large conference rooms were used for celebrity guest panels with an adjacent area where fans waited in long lines to take a photo with their favourite celeb.
I started the weekend by catching the Robert Englund panel which saw more fans in Freddy Krueger costumes than I could dream possible. Voice actor Phil LaMarr did an amazing job moderating and vetting questions for the panel, but was frequently baited by fans who ditched their pre-approved questions to give gifts or ask self serving questions. Doh well, Robert Englund was an amazing storyteller and did a great job fielding all questions.
While I was bummed that I couldn’t get a photo with Glenn from Walking Dead (Stephen Yuenn) or catch Star-Burns’ (Dino Stamatopoulos) lecture on writing for TV due to cancellations, Saskatoon Expo brought in John Barrowman (Doctor Who & Torchwood’s Captain Jack) as a last minute addition. Barrowman’s hilarious and rather risqué lecture was a personal highlight and left many curious about just what all they got up to in that TARDIS. Barrowman laughed constantly and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, stating that he’d recommend a stop at Saskatoon Expo to all of his celebrity friends next year.
With the majority of attendees dressed in costume, I definitely regret my decision to not dress up. It was amazing to see people pull into the parking lot and get out of their cars in Spiderman costumes. And big props to Sask Expo for the many “Costumes are not consent” signs posted throughout the building.
Saturday concluded with the much coveted cosplay contest where attendees competed for best costume. After a pre-judging round a handful of attendees got to show off their creations in front of the entire theatre.
And damn, there were some amazing costumes.
Sunday seemed quieter and more relaxed and after catching Phil LaMarr read lines as Futurama’s Hermes Conrad and bounce about as MADtv’s UPS guy I spent the remainder of the afternoon shopping.
Pro-tip: You can get mad deals in the final hours of the expo.
I scored myself an arm full of Funko Pop toys, some Doctor Who bath robes and half-priced comics before sitting down for a cute drawing by Randy’s Caricatures.
Sask Expo certainly raised the bar and I’m looking forward to what (and who) they will bring next year!