It’s a new year and, for geeks like me, that means the convention season is just around the corner. Louisville is quickly becoming a popular locale for conventions of all shapes and sizes. From traditional comic book conventions to gaming conventions to conventions with star power, Louisville promises to have it all this year.
If you’re a gamer with a special place in your heart for vintage video games, this is the convention (or expo) for you. According to their website, the Louisville Arcade Expo plans to offer free play on over 100 pinball and arcade machines and set up classic consoles and computers. The expo will hold gaming tournaments and a costume contest. Plus, children 10 and under get in free! LAX promises a great weekend of gaming fun for the whole family.
Even though this convention is in a neighboring city, it warrants mention because Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner, will be there. It’s not unusual to see William Shatner as a guest at Kentucky cons (as most people know, he owns a farm in Kentucky), but he still draws in a huge crowd. Plus, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura) also plans on stopping by, as well as a large group of former Power Rangers and even the original Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno. For more information, click here to visit the official site for the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention.
Next on the docket is Wizard World Comic Con. Since 2010, Wizard Entertainment has been producing a number of conventions in the United States. Wizard World has included Louisville in an exclusive list of cities for their 2014 tour. With a list of celebrities that will make geeks weak in the knees, star power is clearly the driving force behind this convention. “Ringers” will be excited to see Sean Astin, Sam from Lord of the Rings, make an appearance. Many stars from the hit television series The Walking Dead have been announced, including Norman Reedus, Scott Wilson, and Sarah Wayne Callies. Jon Heder, Dean Cain, Jason David Frank, Neal Adams, and more will also be in attendance. Fanboys and fangirls, start saving your money, and click here to visit the official site for Louisville’s Wizard Con.
According to their website (and Wikipedia), ConGlomeration is Louisville’s own multimedia science fiction and fantasy convention run by fans, for fans. Their website’s banner depicts both Luke Skywalker and the 11th Doctor playing with a light saber. If that alone doesn’t make you want to go, ConGlomeration’s website also boasts a masquerade costume contest, tabletop gaming, and an art show.
Wonderfest began as a swap meet in 1990 and has since grown into a large hobby expo. This year, the expo is welcoming special effects guests Chris Walas (makeup FX and director for Gremlins, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and more), Joe Alves (Academy Award-nominated art director, production designer, and director), Carol Bauman (model and makeup FX for the Star Wars Prequels, Pirates of the Caribbean, and more), and many others. Wonderfest also offers a model contest and seminars to improve your skills as a hobbyist. If you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes, Wonderfest is for you. Click here to visit their website.
The best convention in Louisville will be back and better than ever for the 2014 season! As a volunteer for this convention, please note that I am being completely unbiased in my assessment of its greatness. All jokes aside, this convention is all about art and family. Derby City was my first ever convention in its opening year. Not being a huge comic book person myself, I felt a sense of shock and awe when I walked through the doors and saw just how many artists (most hailing from the Louisville area) had carefully set up their booths displaying beautiful artwork. When I volunteered the next year, I expected to count tickets or sell t-shirts; I never dreamed I would be put in charge of the kids’ area, but being a teacher has its perks. As the director of the kids program, I can personally guarantee that kids of all ages will be entertained with multiple contests, games, and more. Plus, kids 12 and under get in free! This year, Derby City is expanding to two days, complete with more panels and events, and featured guest, Bob Hall, best known for his work on the Avengers and Batman comics, will be returning for a second year. Click here to visit Derby City Comic Con’s official site.
According to Fandom Fest’s Facebook page, measures are being taken to ensure that the 2014 convention goes more smoothly than it did in 2013. Hopefully, the changes work because Fandom Fest is sure to draw in a huge crowd of Trekkies. Gathering information from Fandom Fest’s website and Facebook page, I counted six celebrities from Star Trek alone who will be making appearances. The list includes: Brent Jay Spiner (Data), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Jonathan Frakes (Com. Riker), and Michael Dorn (Lt. Com. Worf). In addition to these Star Trek celebs, Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor from Doctor Who/Radagast from The Hobbit) and Bruce Boxleitner (of Babylon 5/Tron fame) will be in attendance among many others. Trekkies, this con clearly belongs to you!
Check back with Louisville.com for more information about these conventions (and more) as they approach, and don’t forget about Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd!
Can’t get enough? Check out this list of other area cons:
Indiana Comic Con – Indianapolis, IN – March 14-16
Gem City Comic Con – Dayton, OH – April 5-6
Small Press & Alt Comics Expo – Columbus, OH – April 12-13
Cincinnati Library Comic Con – Cincinnati, OH – May 10
River City Comics Expo – Louisville, KY – May 10
Appleseed Con – Fort Wayne, IN – May 17-18
Tri-State Comic-Con – Huntington, WV – May 31
Gen Con – Indianapolis, IN – August 14-17
WV Pop Culture Con – Morgantown, WV – August 23-24
Cincy ComicCon – Cincinnati, OH – September 5-7
Cincinnati Comic Expo – Cincinnati, OH – September 19-21
Kokomo Con – Kokomo, IN – October 18
Champion City Comic Con – Springfield, OH – October 25
Did I miss any conventions you love? Please let me know! I am always looking for more conventions to attend, and I would love to write about your favorites.
Article photo courtesy www.clker.com. Photos within the article are attributed in the headings.