Convention season returns to Denver

It was the return of the nerds this Halloween weekend at FANEXPO at the Colorado Convention Center

This past Halloween weekend saw the successful return to a Denver convention season with a former fan favorite with a new name. FAN EXPO Denver: SPECIAL EDITION, known as Denver Pop-Culture Con in the past, was the first event of its kind held since May 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has closed most conventions.

Fan Expo is a much larger organization that takes over this convention. Home to numerous conventions across North America and according to their website “With over a million fans and more, FAN EXPO HQ draws fans of pop culture, locally and internationally, to come together to celebrate it all. which is fandom. “

Photo of Tiffani Hernandez | [email protected]
Cosplayers of the 501st Legion, a non-profit organization combining Star Wars and volunteer work.

“FAN EXPO HQ is one of the biggest pop culture producers in the world. Fans are at the heart of everything we do and all of our events are made BY fans FOR fans. Our mission is to celebrate all things pop culture and deliver the ultimate experience for fans. “

Housed in the Denver Convention Center, this event was called a “Special Edition” this year because it is 75% the size of events in the past. This event is generally a summer event, but it fell a holiday this year. All attendees, exhibitors, staff, vendors, and site personnel were required to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating and drinking.

While the crowd size was noticeably smaller, FAN EXPO kept its promise to bring the same engaging educational atmosphere that has always made the event “everything you love.” From famous guests to workshops to shopping madness (and everything in between). ”

As expected with the limited capacity, there weren’t as many panels as in previous years. The conventions included panels on everything from quiz boards on fan-favorite franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to conversations about how to create a better campaign as a Dungeon Master. Panels discussing tips for creating better cosplay to conversations about the importance of portrayal in our pop culture media.

True to the festive Halloween vibe, Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught on Camera host Aaron Sagers led spooky panels on conspiracy theories surrounding Denver International Airport, the haunted places around Denver and a personal AMA.

Of course, there were always popular celebrity Q&A panels. Featuring the likes of:

William Shatner (Star Trek)

Zachary Quinto (Star Trek)

Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, The Walking Dead

Ray Fisher (Justice League)

Katie Cassidy (Arrow, Supernatural)

Giancarlo Esposito (The Mandalorian, Breaking Bad)

…and much more.

Celebrity Q&A was also delivered. Fans were treated like celebrities spouting their time in fan favorite roles. William Shatner came to his panel for a standing ovation from fans and shared some stories from his time in space on Blue Origin.

Giancarlo Esposito opened up about his time on Breaking Bead and how he felt like a kid in a candy store working on The Mandalorian.

Artist Alley, located on the top floor of the convention center and boasting 400,000 square feet of hundreds of retailers, exhibits and authors. Participants could find art, comics, props, memorabilia, video games, clothing, or whatever else you can think of. With so many talented designers around, it’s hard not to spend the whole weekend upstairs.

While chatting with many of the traders in attendance, they all mentioned that they felt particularly uncomfortable on Friday. It was obviously the slowest day of the weekend and it made a lot of people nervous.

Saturday and Sunday were a whole different story. The floodgates were opened and Denver came out en masse. Speaking to representatives from Cap for Kids, a nonprofit organization that “brings hope and joy to children treated for cancer,” awarded FAN EXPO with a steady donation weekend despite declining attendance.

The donations they receive from events like this help provide financial and emotional support to the families of the grieving children, while dressing up as favorite comic book and pop culture heroes and visiting them in the hospitals or at home. “We were able to do this because of the kindness, generosity and support of the pop culture community as well as the heroic efforts of our wonderful volunteer. “

Lorri Gurnett, commanding officer and representative of the 501st Legion garrison, another charity in attendance, said she was happy to see him return. She also credited the organizers for their handling of an unconventional scam.

The spooky and fun Halloween weekend brought together Denver cosplayers of all ages. As is tradition, there is a designated time for many different fandoms to take group photos together, but a fun new addition was the Cosplay Red Carpet and the Cosplay Craftsmanship Cup; so many amazing costumes were there it was obvious the fans were working hard since the shutdown.

Photo of Tiffani Hernandez | [email protected]
Con attendees dressed up as Marvel characters Wanda Maximoff and Vision.

If this is what one would expect from a 75% Fan Expo, fans should be excited to see what a large-scale event could bring. FAN EXPO was getting wet and testing the water with their debut event in Denver, but judging by the weekend’s success, their biggest event in July is expected to be bigger than anything fans saw on the stage. the Denver Con.

Many artists have indicated that they will definitely be back next year. Mandy from Kurry Studios said “I have already deposited my deposit for our booth next year.” FAN EXPO has already announced the dates of its next event in Denver. July 1-3, 2022 is expected to be a life-size spectacle and, according to the official FAN EXPO website, they expect over 100,000 fans in attendance.

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