The second iteration of Wilkes Comic Con attracted around 600 attendees on Saturday, doubling the participation of the inaugural event in 2019.
That’s according to Denis Lachapelle, event chairperson, who said that attendance exceeded his staff’s goal of 500 patrons at the Stone Center for Performing Arts in North Wilkesboro.
“I can’t say enough good things about the staff of the Stone Center and how they worked with us every step of the way,” added Lachapelle.
The main ballroom of the Stone Center was packed with devotees of popular culture from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lachapelle said the convention is planning on becoming a bi-annual event in 2022 at the same location.
“Speaking for myself, I love putting on events for the community,” he said. “As an artist and a gamer, it’s a great opportunity to share my passion with hundreds of my closest friends. This weekend shows that Wilkes County is hungry for this kind of entertainment.”
Vendors from as far away as Columbia, S.C., set up booths in the main meeting room. Other areas of the Stone Center were devoted to panel discussions, arts & crafts and gaming.
Lachapelle said that pre-purchase ticket sales were made from all over the state, including Fayetteville, Raleigh, Concord and Asheville. Some attendees even made the drive over from Kentucky.
Local vendors included Hero Clash Collectibles in North Wilkesboro, Wilkes Playmakers, Dark Glass Studio, Great State Paranormal and the Historic Wilkesborough Halloween Parade & Zombie Festival (slated for Oct. 30).
Lachapelle said the posts will be made over the next few weeks on the event’s website (wilkescomiccon.com) about guest artists for the next show, in January 2022.
“There will be lots more exciting news and some bigger sponsorships are being discussed. We were picking up sponsors as late as last week, including a real estate firm from California.”
The events on Saturday ranged from making your own plushie to a wrestling panel that featured a discussion with hall of fame wrestler Major Havoc.
Members of the online group Concellation 2021 had an informal meet and greet. Challenge coins were brought into the proceedings.
The Dragon’s Den gaming room (sponsored by the locally owned and operated store in Boone) had a popular pre-release event for the “Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms” play cards that tie in to “Magic: The Gathering.”
Karen Whitfield, author of “Batdriven West: The Bronze Age Batgirl,” discussed her time as the official DC Batgirl and her travels around the country with Adam West and Burt Ward, stars of the popular television series.
“I’d also really like to throw a special shout-out and thank you to our wonderful guests: Karen Whitfield (the Bronze Age Batgirl) and (pro wrestler) Major Havoc,” added Lachapelle.
The spooky history of Olde Wilkesboro was explored with Heather Dean and other organizers of the annual ghost tours of Wilkesboro. In a similar vein, a deep dive into the supernatural was made with Great State Paranormal.
After the convention, attendees created artwork in the popular “Drink and Draw” session at Dom Bakeries in North Wilkesboro. Proceeds from art that was purchased again went to the local nonprofit Wilkes Playmakers.