The Geek shall inherit the Earth! (At least that’s what it says in the Bible, doesn’t it?) If this weekend’s Sci-Fi on the Rock was any indication, the Geek DENITIELY inherit Newfoundland. If you found yourself at the Sheraton or anywhere in its vicinity this weekend it definitely would not have been all that strange to see people dressed as Hogwarts students, Doctor Who’s, superheroes, intergalactic bounty hunters and anything in between. Since its inception. Sci-Fi On The Rock has become the largest science fiction and fantasy convention in the province and I finally got a chance to go on Saturday with two little Younglings in tow. Yes, in an effort to keep the title of “Flyest Uncle In The Galaxy” I took my two nieces along to take in some Geek culture and sick costumes.
The event which spanned the entire weekend featured a number of events including various panels, a costume contest, karaoke, various vendors and a dance. This year the convention welcomed special guests including Doug Jones, Jewel Staite, and Ethan Phillips among others. Upon first glance, these names may not be recognizable but Jones has appeared in movies like Batman Returns, Mystery Men, and Hellboy. Staite is perhaps best known for her appearance on the cult favorite Firefly and Phillips seems to have done everything from appearing on Broadway to acting credits in Star Trek: Voyager as well as other films and television shows to voiceover work for a Star Wars video game.
I didn’t get to attend any of these panels but I did get to take my nieces to see the vendors. We walked into the packed lobby of the Sheraton and were greeted by Supergirl who welcomed us and asked if we had any questions. We looked around for a bit and was delighted to see Darth Vader with a Stormtrooper as his bodyguard and a fully functional R2-D2 in tow. My nieces took out their lightsabers we packed to go along with their Star Wars shirts and posed for a picture cuter than an Ewok. Of course, I had to jump in for a selfie which turned out to be pretty epic.
Once we got our bearings, we got in a line that seemed like it spanned on to infinity in order to gain access inside the event. The line did move at light speed though which was quite appreciated when you have two little Padawans in tow. What was also pretty cool was that my four-year-old niece got in for free which was something I didn’t see advertised on ticket prices. Thanks to my pro bono work here at Tint Of Ink, I got to play mild-mannered reporter and put on a media pass and walk around the convention for without having to pay either. (I regretfully announce that I forgot to take a picture of myself wearing the “Media” lanyard.)
There were dozens of vendors set up once we made it inside selling various wares. Downtown Comics, who I’ll be writing about in another article had a table as did the Johnson Geo Centre. I managed to strike up a conversation with a few of the vendors like Midnight Tailors which offers handcrafted pieces like The Simpsons bow tie which caught my eye (sadly they didn’t have any neck ties left). Interestingly enough while chatting with the folks from Bricks and Minifigs I learned that the Lego Batman figure who is dressed up in a KISS-inspired Batsuit is very popular. (I guess more than just my niece is a fan of both Lego Batman and Scooby-Doo! and Kiss: Rock and Roll Mystery?) It was also cool to see Kyle Callahan Photography with a table set up. I’ve seen him at the Farmer’s Market and he has some really cool prints available for the nerd in your life.
I had heard through the grapevine that there was going to be a place where you could build your own droid. I misunderstood what this meant and told my nieces that they could build their own mini droids. We walked around looking for this table but I couldn’t seem to find it. We asked one of the volunteers who kindly directed us to the table saying we couldn’t miss it. (I did). Turns out, these were not the droids we were looking for but they were the group we had met earlier. Darth Vader was part of the R2-D2 Builders Club who instead of building mini droids to take home, actually build life-size, fully functional droids like the Artoo we met in the lobby.
After purchasing some Shopkins and walking around for over an hour, my little Younglings wanted to head home. It was pretty crowded and could be overwhelming for two children. Before leaving, we had a chat with the owners of Maple Tree Designs about Star Wars after they complimented my nieces on their Star Wars t-shirts. It was pretty cool to bond over something that was clearly important to both our families. I told them about how the girls got into Star Wars in 2015 and they talked about taking their daughter to a late opening night screening that happened to fall on a school night.
I spoke with Michelle Churchill, the Chair of Sci-Fi on the Rock who said while the final numbers were not in they were thrilled with this year’s turnout. I asked her about how much work it takes to organize an event of this magnitude. “Our planning committee is made up of twenty-seven volunteers,” she said. “Each convention takes about a year to plan.” There seems to be no rest for the weary as Michelle says that planning for next year’s Sci-Fi on the Rock has already underway.