Lucky No. 7 for Sarnia Pop Culture Show

Carl Hnatyshyn/Sarnia This Week Sarnia Pop Culture Show gurus Terry Wardell and Trent Rogers will be hosts to their seventh annual comic, cosplay and collectible-filled event at Point Edward Arena on Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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For Sarnia’s community of comic book lovers, cosplay aficionados and hardcore game enthusiasts, the annual Sarnia Pop Culture Show is a bit like Christmas, New Year’s and Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day all rolled up in one.

Not only is the annual multi-genre convention ­–­ which usually attracts over 1,000 local pop culture devotees – a sure sign of spring, but it’s also an opportunity for local superfans to indulge their hobbies and interests with groups of like-minded peers.

The Sarnia Pop Culture Show will be celebrating its seventh year at the Point Edward Arena on Sunday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and organizers are hoping this will be the biggest iteration of the show yet.

“We usually attract around 1,000 bodies each year, but we’re hoping that more people come out this year and check it out,” said organizer Terry Wardell.

With a focus on everything from hard-to-find comics to retro video games, from professional wrestling to iconic science fiction, fantasy and superhero films, the family-friendly event will be a maelstrom of costumes, collectibles and community, Wardell said.

Interactive activities for fans of all ages will be going on everywhere, he added, and a strong contingent of independent comic creators, novelists, needlepoint experts and creators will be displaying their work.

Aside from getting the chance to peruse the tables of vendors, attendees might also bump into fictional characters such as Chewbacca, one of the Avengers or, perhaps more unexpectedly, one of Sesame Street’s strangely hypnotic Yip Yip creatures.

Anything can happen at a Sarnia Pop Culture Show, Wardell said.

“There will be lots of tables featuring old video game systems,” he said. “There’s also going to be showcasing of certain games, like Dungeons & Dragons. There will be tabletop games played and there are actually a couple of people who have created their own tabletop games (demonstrating) them.”

File photo/Sarnia This WeekFour-year-old pop culture fan Massimo held up his beloved Minions balloon figure at a previous iteration of the Sarnia Pop Culture Show.

New this year will be a special media guest, Wardell said, a prominent and well-known figure who will be posing for pictures and signing autographs for fans for a fee.

“The biggest thing we’ve decided to do this year is to try out a media guest,” he said. “This year we decided to give it a try with Steve Lombardi, the Brooklyn Brawler, who wrestled with all the greats in the WWE in the Eighties and Nineties.

“It’s a big deal, he’s a big guest so we’ll see how it goes and hopefully it’s something we can make that bigger and better in future years,” Wardell continued “For wrestling fans, we’re also supposed to have a table with Chem Valley wrestling, the local wrestling promoters, so some of their wrestlers could also be there.”

Also new will be a variety of more-than-just-arena food sold in the at the Point Edward Arena’s Optimist Hall, replete with interactive displays to stimulate hungry pop culture aficionados.

With the Pop Culture Show turning seven this year, Wardell and fellow organizer Trent Rogers said they can’t quite believe the show has grown so much in such a short time from such humble beginnings.

“It was just one of those things where we were always traveling to other comic conventions and we always had to travel an hour to three hours to do anything,” Wardell said. “And while we were in the car on the way home one day, we thought we should have something here in Sarnia. And we just said ‘let’s do it’.

“We always hoped that it would continue to grow, get bigger and get better, but whenever you start something up for the first time, you never really know where it’s going to go or how it’s going to turn out,” he added. “So for the first few years we held it in the Holiday Inn, we got our feet wet and we found out what this type of convention entails. And since then we’ve been able to upscale and do a better job ever since. I think.”

Rogers said he always knew the show would attract such a big crowd, since Sarnians seem to be in love with all things related to pop culture.

“I would always see people from my store (Future Pastimes) out of town at other conventions, so I knew there were people from Sarnia travelling and interested in such an event,” he said. “This is something I always wanted to do, to have a convention in my hometown. I figured there would be an audience there … and there has been.”

Tickets are $10 at the door (free for children 11 and younger) and can also be bought in advance at Future Pastimes (163 Lochiel St.).

Advance ticket purchasers can also buy a special package for a ticket plus an autograph/photo with Steve Lombardi.

Proceeds from each ticket sold will go towards St. Clair Child and Youth Services.

For more information about the Sarnia Pop Culture Show VII, visit the group’s Facebook page or www.popculturesarnia.com.

 

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