It’s not dead, Jim

Tobias Romaniuk
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Sci-fi On The Rock convention continues to grow

“Battlestar Galactica” actor Richard Hatch will make a special appearance at this year’s Sci-fi On The Rock science fiction convention.

Peter Roy, who has appeared in “Star Wars: A New Hope,” “Dr. Who,” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” will also be there.

The actors from the science fiction shows are just a few of the popular names scheduled to appear at this year’s convention, which runs April 20-22 and continues to grow.

The event has taken over the Holiday Inn, said volunteer board of directors vice-president Peggy Dixon.

“We have every space in the Holiday Inn that we could book,” said Dixon, and they’re still short of space.

Authors, actors, artists and others involved in creating science fiction will host workshops, sell their creations and generally celebrate the genre in what has become a popular event not only for fans but for presenters.

While the early years involved a lot of hunting for speakers and presenters, they now have an opposite, but enviable, problem.

“We actually turn people away, which is amazing,” she said.

Variety of fans

The convention attracts a wide variety of fans, said Janet Bartlett, who is in charge of workshops and guest relations. She calls herself a casual fan who “fell in love with the Jetsons, and went on from there.”

This year, there are workshops geared specifically toward children, including how to draw your own superhero, and a workshop that will see kids build their own monster box. For the young and young at heart, there will be a workshop on how to battle with a light sabre.

While some jedis-in-training bring their own plastic light sabres, anything vaguely sword-shaped will work, Bartlett said.

“Everybody brings in their light sabres or Christmas wrapping tubes or whatever they happen to use,” she said.

Dressing up like their favourite science fiction characters has always been a large part of any sci-fi convention, and this one is no different. Some people will spend the whole day in costume, and dressing up is always popular with kids, said Bartlett.

The costume contest continues to grow in popularity each year, and focuses on homemade costumes, with points handed out for craftsmanship and creativity. In the world of sci-fi, dressing up in costume is referred to as cosplay.

For those who want to learn more, there will be a cosplay workshop focusing on costume-making, said Bartlett.

“It’s how to make your own costumes and get started in it, basically,” she said.

For those interested in movies, the film festival features independent science fiction films from around the globe.

In addition to the many workshops, authors, artists and others working on science fiction projects will be featured guests.

Information on speakers, as well as ticket details and the various workshops, is available on the Sci-fi on the Rock website at www.scifiontherock.com.

From the website to the continued growth, Dixon said she never thought the convention would grow to the size it has become today. Six years ago, the first event had a few hundred people walk through the door and Dixon was pleased with that turnout.

That the event would attract 1,500 people would have sounded like a joke in that first year. “We would have laughed our heads off at you,” Dixon said. But that’s exactly what happened. Last year’s event had 1,500 visitors and 50 vendors, with this year’s convention expected to attract even more.

There are already 80 tables booked for the public spaces.

Organizations: Holiday Inn, New Hope, Rock

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