After two years of taking on a more grassroots and slow and steady approach, Avalon Expo has upped the ante for its third installment, with an upgrade in venue and their biggest lineup of special guests to date.
All Things Geek
Running from August 25 to 27 at Mile One Centre and the St. John’s Convention Center, the expo celebrates fun, friendship and all things geek, including sci-fi, fantasy, comics, horror, pop-culture and beyond.
“I volunteered at the sixth Sci-Fi On The Rock, really enjoyed it and liked the atmosphere,” shared expo founder Jeff Power. “I joined the committee after that and was there for the seventh, eighth and ninth. A lot of my friends said it would be great if we had something like Sci-Fi On The Rock only in the summertime.”
Power partnered and gained confidence and reassurance from friends of his in the ren fair (renaissance fair) community. He had the idea to take the format that made Sci-Fi On The Rock and other local and national conventions successful, and have it take place in the summer-season, something previously uncharted by expo operators here on the island.
With a name, graphics, social media pages and website locked in, the expo kicked off its inaugural season in 2015. Since then it has grown exponentially, so much so that the Avalon Expo brass had to turn away prospective vendors in their sophomore event in 2016, prompting the necessity for an upgraded venue.
High Profile Guests
Of course, with a larger and more fan-friendly venue comes the need for more high profile guests. Chiefly among them is Colin Baker, known to the masses as The Sixth Doctor in iconic sci-fi franchise Doctor Who.
“A Doctor Who Doctor was one of the goals to bring here at some point,” Power explained. “We’re really happy that Colin Baker was able to do this.”
Joining Baker is Sean Gunn, known for his recurring role as Kirk Gleason in Gilmore Girls and as Kraglin in the comic book epic Guardians of the Galaxy and its 2017 sequel (NOTE: unfortunately Gunn has had to cancel due to a scheduling conflict), Canadian voice actors Linda Ballantyne and Katie Griffin, who voiced Sailor Moon and Sailor Mars in the animated series Sailor Moon, and René Auberjonois best known for his role as Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal.
“All of the guests we’ve had in the past have been great, we just needed something bigger to justify the venue,” Power explains. “We targeted different genres and brought in the guests that we have.”
Power believes that if the upward trajectory of the Avalon Expo, combined with continued enthusiasm for similar events here in Newfoundland and Labrador continues, we could see a true player in the national fandom world spread across the province. “I’d like to see bigger guests,” he says. “In a few years I think we could see a convention here having 10,000 people going.”
Fans of the ‘geek culture’ in Newfoundland and Labrador are a ravenous bunch. An event like Avalon Expo allows for a perfect forum for those like-minded individuals to congregate, judgment free, and live out their fantasy of choice.
“It’s great to get together with people that enjoy the same things and share those things over the weekend,” Power shares. “There’s many different fandoms and people are able to enjoy what they like without being judged or have people interfere. Everyone is happy to be there and have a great time, even if they don’t like the same things. It doesn’t matter, you’re all there for the same reason.
“Growing up there was less of a geek culture,” he adds. “We were a minority. There’s certainly a lot more of that today. Geek culture has become pop culture.”
For ticket information and much more visit avalonexpo.com