Star Wars, Star Trek, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, anime, Marvel, Call of Duty — these are just some of the fandoms that will be represented this weekend at the third annual Vancouver Fan Expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Event coordinator James Armstrong is excited for what he describes as a battle between costume makers. “There’s a phenomena which is worldwide called cosplay, where people dress up in a costume to take a bigger part in the event. It’s part of how the communities express themselves — some just put on a hat or some gloves, while others go for the full costume head to toe.”
Because of the number of individuals dressing up, there are costume contests throughout the weekend. Fans can take photos and compete to win different prizes in different categories — weapons must be checked in at the beginning of each day, of course.
So for somebody who has never been to an event like Fan Expo Vancouver, what’s to be expected? “Fan Expo is an exposition of all things that are pop culture,” says Armstrong. “There’s a big list of celebrities attending, tons of people and hundreds of retailers and artists.”
With all that is going on, what are the not-to-be-missed attractions? According to Armstrong, Stephen Amell (star of CW’s The Arrow), Star Wars cast members and anime voice actors are set to be highlights. For a price, fans can sign up for meet-and-greets, photo events and autograph sessions with their favourite stars. Q&A sessions are reportedly a fan favourite, with thousands of individuals hoping for the chance to meet their idols and pick their brains.
It is not only the celebrities providing the attractions for Vancouver Fan Expo. Retailers on site have costumes, comics and memorabilia on sale for all three days, many rumored to be in possession of rare items.
This is the first year the Fan Expo will take place over three days, having grown enormously since it’s inception 20 years ago in Toronto. 25,000 people are expected to descend on the Convention Centre, dressed in cosplay costumes representing their respective fandoms. “It’s the sense of community which gets people returning year after year,” said Armstrong. “As soon as this event is over, people will be starting already with their plans for 2015 — it’s just getting bigger and better.”