By: Nick Travis
Newfoundland’s favourite spot for all things Sci-Fi, cosplay and pop culture, Sci-Fi on the Rock may be delayed due to COVID-19, but don’t count them out!
This fantastical event will be moving from the Spring to Fall, with events starting September 4th and continuing into the 6th. There is, according to Sci-Fi on the Rock’s hotel chairperson Mae Dalton-Summers, a silver lining in all this.
‘End of summer bash’
“The new date is a long weekend, which will be great for people spending all weekend at the con and then getting a break,” said Dalton-Summers. “It’ll be the first year in a while we shouldn’t have to worry about snow interrupting guest flights coming in and many of our attendees are delighted to have more time to work on costumes. Cosplayers are infamous for procrastinating, many probably still will. We’re a little closer to our fellow conventions than usual, but we think still spaced out enough that there’s still room for everybody. The response for our vendors have been wonderful and supportive and one of our guests, Newton Pittman, has already confirmed the new date for us. We’re seeing it as an end of summer bash and we’re excited!”
Sci-Fi on the Rock started as a one day event 14 years ago. Founder Darren Hann had organized similar events on the mainland and wanted to bring something to Newfoundland and Labrador for all the local “geeky types” to enjoy.
These days, Sci-Fi on the Rock has stepped into a bigger role in the Newfoundland nerd niche. Held annually at the Sheraton Hotel, the event features tons of cosplay, an artists alley, other vendors, an auction, a costume contest and much more.
Like many conventions, Sci-Fi on the Rock features an artists alley. It’s a space where local independent artists can sell their work and get exposure. It was started in 2012 by Dalton-Summers herself after suggesting the idea to the committee. “I went to Darren in 2012 and I was like, ‘Darren we don’t have an artists alley!’ That’s so silly for a Newfoundland convention to not have an artists alley,” said Dalton-Summers. “We have our geeky artists. They’re not drawing puffins and dories, but they’re drawing other things and they should have a space.”
Sci-Fi on the Rock has plenty of guests slated for this September’s convention, with someone there to please just about anyone.
Known for her role as the pink Power Ranger in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Turbo, Catherine Sutherland will be taking the stage at Sci-Fi on The Rock this year.
Special effects wizard and actor Trevor Butterfield will also be there. His impressive career has touched upon cinema classics like Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars VI: Return of The Jedi, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Aliens and Harry Potter.
Other featured guests include voice actor Newton Pittman, local cosplayer Sheldon Mercer, illustrator Mike Feehan, and Master of Ceremonies Fat Apollo. Musical guests the CBS band will be there to play video game music and movie scores as well as a local Star Wars band to headline at Sci-Fi on the Rock’s nighttime dance.
Cosplay, also known as dressing up as a character from a book, movie, comic, manga or video game, is a big selling point of Sci-Fi on the Rock. People here use this time to show off their creative costumes in a safe and accepting space, free of judgment.
“For such a small event, we have more cosplay than most, and a surprisingly good level of cosplay,” said Dalton-Summers. “The caliber of cosplay is ridiculous. At a lot of other conventions there’s plenty of people just walking around in t-shirts. We do have those people, but we have a ridiculous amount of cosplayers. I think it’s that same folksy, Newfoundland crafty nature just pointed at geek stuff.”
As with most places filled with costumed pop culture characters, Sci- Fi on the Rock is the perfect place to take the kids. The convention featured scheduled events for kids to meet their favourite characters in person.
“We have a thing at the convention where people dress up as characters and we have a schedule. So like at 2:00 Captain America and Spiderman are going to be in the lobby, at 3:00 Elsa and Cinderella are going to be in the lobby. The costumes and the kids are my jam. We hold a scavenger hunt every year where everyone has to find all my costumes. After the convention if you can post pictures, the person who gets the most costumes wins a weekend pass.”
Tickets to Sci-Fi on the Rock are available at scifiontherock.com. Weekend passes and VIP passes are also available. Children under five years old are free. The first hour after the vendor room opens is intended as a sensory-friendly time-slot.