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A weekend of fandom: The 2024 Calgary Expo is here

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres, April 24 2024—

Comic books, movies, TV shows, anime, video games and so much more for fans are returning to town with the Calgary Expo on Apr. 25–28 at Stampede Park. This is one of the largest events in the city with people coming from all over to what unites them all: fandom. From featured celebrities to a variety of vendors, there is something for everyone this weekend whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual enjoyer. 

In an interview with the Gauntlet, the FAN EXPO HQ Vice President Andrew Moyes shared the importance of continuing with the Calgary Expo.

“These sorts of events are passion-driven, community-driven events, but now more than ever, in society, we need that sense of connection with like-minded people that have similar passions. This experience cannot be replicated digitally,” said Moyes. “We take the responsibility very, very seriously to create a platform where people can come and express themselves, find a sense of belonging and basically celebrate and enjoy themselves.”

One of the main highlights this year is that the cast members of Scream (1996) will make an appearance for a Q&A on Apr. 26 featuring Neve Campbell, Jaime Kennedy, Matthew Lillard, Skeet Ulrich and Lee Waddell. There will also be opportunities for photo ops with individual members or as a group throughout the weekend, so book those to get your photo with them. Along with the cast of Scream, four cast members of the new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender will be making an appearance and stars from Letterkenny, the Star Wars universe and more will be at Stampede Park.

“It’s gonna be really cool to have the cast of Scream. It’s unusual to get a really good collection of a cast of an iconic title together,” said Moyes. “I’m really looking forward to seeing that.”

For those who love superheroes or have spent their days flipping through pages of them, comic book creator and native to cowboy country, Todd McFarlane returns home for the weekend. He is known as the creator of Spawn but also had a lasting impact on his work with Spider-Man. A how-to-draw Spawn event will be held on Thursday with two Q&A’s, one featuring his dad and the other solo, on Friday and Saturday for everyone to go see a legend in the comic book world. There will be other comic creators at the event as well such as Dan Slott, Larry F. Houston, Mitch Gerards and so many more.

“I’m really excited that we have Todd McFarlane coming to the event,” shared Moyes. “Legendary creator of Spawn, one of the greatest comic creators on the planet Earth and of course, he has strong ties to Calgary, so it’s really special to be bringing him over to the event.”

This year is the tenth anniversary of the POW! Parade of Wonders. On Friday, fans will walk across downtown in full cosplay to display their hard work and there will be stands for people who want to see. Cosplayers of all ages have been involved and from any level, such as beginner cosplayers to celebrity cosplayers will attend this wondrous event of the fandom community in and around Calgary. Even if you don’t have a costume ready or want to join, watching this event offers a fun experience to audiences on the street, even with live bands involved in the parade. Moyes shared that the POW! Parade has a large impact given its longevity and how it is a key signature event that feeds into the city’s economy with the Stampede grounds being used, but also restaurants and hotels nearby get traction from the four-day event. 

“It shows that this is a citywide festival that brings out the best in everyone in the city and gives everyone the opportunity to come and be together as a community and celebrate the fandoms that we know and love,” said Moyes.

Amongst all the celebrity guests, there are voice actors from cartoons, anime and video games that will be present for meet-ups, photographs and autograph sessions. Calgary Expo is not only a place for celebrities to come but also for local and international vendors to come and showcase fan art or their original work. The Artist Alley displays current comic artists’ works and projects, where people can interact with them and directly support them. There are vendors with collectible figurines, fan clothing, comics and manga on sale, mock weapons of your favourite show or video game and other trinkets that might catch your eye. There are meet-ups for people in cosplay of the same fandom or theme, as well as the Master of Cosplay Grand Prix and Cosplay Showcase where cosplayers can compete for prizes to a panel of judges. Moyes shared that the Calgary Expo offers different things for different people. 

“We have a great volunteer program where you can come and learn behind the scenes on how to put on a significant event like this, but also we’re bringing in the best of the best,” said Moyes. “The best comic creators, the best voice actors, the best actors of stage and screen and I think there’s always transferable lessons regardless of what, how and where you’re looking to build your career.”

To buy tickets to attend the Calgary Expo or to see the schedule of events, check out the Calgary Expo website

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