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2014-07-19 at 6:00 PM

Celebrating fandom

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY – This city is well-known for its strong support of sports figures, specifically the homegrown hockey players.

But that doesn’t mean Thunder Bay’s fandom is just limited to athletic endeavours

Fantasy, sci-fi and superhero enthusiasts got their place to geek out this weekend with Fan-Con, a first of its type in the city pop-culture celebration that was held at Fort William Historical Park.

Fort William Historical Park communications officer Marty Mascarin said the support from the community has been strong for a first time event.

“We’ve had several thousand people,” Mascarin said of total attendance, adding there were a few thousand specifically on Friday evening for their tribute concert series, which featured acts playing homage to classic bands KISS, Queen and AC/DC.

Attendees had the opportunity to interact with classic Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca and the costumed Storm Troopers.

Marvel Comics also presented a children’s Avengers themed show with Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Spiderman. The larger than life superheroes were also available for pictures with their young fans following the show.

Story continues after video...



The convention was held in collaboration with the PGA Tour Canada’s Staal Foundation Open golf tournament, with both groups participating in cross-promotion to enhance the debut editions of their events.

The Staal brothers made an appearance at the park in the afternoon for a meet and greet and autograph session.

Organizers brought in two sci-fi legends as centrepieces of the event for panels and autograph sessions. Old-school Doctor Who fans easily recognized Daphne Ashbrook while the many Star Trek fans in attendance were able to meet Walter Koenig.

Ashbrook, who played Dr. Grace Holloway, has become quite familiar with the convention scene, participating in more than a dozen last year due to the 50th anniversary of the Doctor Who franchise.

The smaller scale of this convention, compared to some she has participated in, results in a special charm.

“I like to spend time with people. I would prefer it to be a smaller event where it’s more personal and you get to know people,” Ashbrook said. “It’s why I do these, honestly, that’s what gives me joy.”

She expects the event will expand in the future and become even more popular as the profile grows.

Koenig is known for his portrayal of Pavel Chekov in Star Trek: The Original Series. The 77-year-old actor is also familiar to fans of the television series Babylon 5, where he had a recurring role.

The event concludes Saturday evening with their Canadian themed concert evening.

Scheduled to take the stage are Chilliwack, The Stampeders and David Wilcox.

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randomgeneratorfailure says:
I'm glad the organizers consider it a success. I considered it an abject failure. It was overpriced for what it offered, with little to do much of the time, poor food options, badly done advertising, taking juice at the gate from small children with nothing available inside to replace it with, and no shade or shelter in a hot then wet parking lot. It was made clear to us that we were not welcome even in the FWHP gift shop or indoor bathrooms; why even have the event there? The few positives were heavily outweighed by the negatives. This whole event left a bad taste in my mouth...disappointing. We won't be back if you run it again like this.
7/19/2014 8:51:53 PM
crunchbite says:
It's definitely not the first fan convention in Thunder Bay, Kita-Kon has been running since 2007.
7/19/2014 11:21:24 PM
tbaylady says:
There may have been thousands there for the concert, but certainly not during the day! Tha event was so poorly done, and the prices were ridiculous. An extra five dollars to go into a tent and play board games? And no access to the visitor centre?
When will FWHP get back to focusing on events related to local history and the fur trade? It is such a shame that the world's largest fur trade reconstruction has forgotten why it even exists in the first place. Go down to Grand Portage and visit their historic site. Their activities, staff and pride in their history is outstanding, and puts FWHP to shame.
7/20/2014 9:02:50 AM
Shane Caker says:
I didn't really know what to expect when I decided to check it out, but I thought it was pretty good. The Avengers show was great! The costumes were incredible. Seeing the kids walking around in their costumes was fun too. No to mention the adults, mostly in Star Wars outfits. Seeing and meeting Walter Koenig was fun too. And being a hockey fan, I got some good close up shots of the Staal bros. Lastly, when my grandson was hot and thirsty, I bought him a snow cone, which he enjoyed immensely! Not a bad job for a first time event.
7/20/2014 11:36:27 AM
Livinin2daynotY1K says:
Actually, the 1st response is one of complete ignorance, likely from an individual who goes no where. I attend festivals across North America, and this particular one was an absolute gem. Beer and concession prices were at or below every festival attended the last two years (Chicago Bluesfest 2014, Thunder Bay Bluesfest 2013,14, Bayfront Bluesfest 2013, Sioux Falls Jazz/Bluesfest 2013), and only the Thunder Bay Bluesfest had better food. The music was FANTASTIC. Bitch about the mosquitos, not trivial garbage. Bravo Old Fort William; keep bringing in great acts at these prices and this family of 6 will come again and again!! Good riddance to the whiners; you'll never, ever satisfy a typical TBay whiner.
7/20/2014 1:47:52 PM
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