Even though Halloween had passed earlier in the week, children dressed as Pokemon and Power Rangers characters last Saturday, November 4. Teens wore anime and steampunk costumes. With friends and family in tow, nearly 150 people flocked to the Saugerties senior center to attend the Saugerties Library’s GeekCon event.
This was the third year the library hosted the event. The first year it was billed as a “GeekCon” as opposed to a “ComicCon.” Librarian Christine Pacuk wanted to expand the event “to include more forms of pop culture than only comics.” She also wanted to appeal to a wide age range.
On Saturday, there was something for folks of every age. At the craft table, run by local teen Renata Simera, younger children created Darth Vader and Yoda art, and colored in pairs of underwear to play pin the tail on Captain Underpants, based on the popular juvenile literature series. Simera said she was excited to return as a volunteer this year, after working at a previous ComicCon.
In the side room, Pacuk ran a series of events, including Doctor Who bingo and a Harry Potter hour during which supplies were provided to make one’s own house tie and wand. Those who visited could also play Quidditch, or have their photo taken with Prisoner of Azkaban photo props. This last proved the most popular event of the day. Parents visited along with their children, snapping photos and helping them dream up which animal might be their Patronus.
Vendors selling artwork, comics and board games filled the main room. Local author and musician Myael Simpkins peddled his books and CDs, and posed for pictures with a life-sized mannequin he had created to represent a character in one of his books. He said he was happy to return to the event for a second year.
Across from his booth, the vendors from Kirwan’s game store chatted with those who visited. Local artists, including Joe Sinnott, brought their work to show and sell, and even penned in panels on the make-your-own-comic-strip open for all who attended to add to in the lobby of the building. There is so much focus now on the big conventions and panels with celebrities that many are overlooking smaller conventions like this one. Participation is a way to return to one’s roots.
The local community is indeed central to this event, according to Pacuk, who credits local teenagers with keeping it running. “They help set up in the morning, run the craft and contest tables, and help clean up at the end of the day,” the librarian said. As long as they and their families keep returning, the show will go on. “We’ll continue to think up different events and find new talents, and hopefully introduce new hobbies to our town.”