December 9, 2016 Wintercon Invades NYC 12-3-16 to 12-4-16
Just in time for the holiday season, Wintercon returned to the New York City area the weekend of December 3rd to 4th. A convention begun by the organizers of Long Island’s Eternal Con and Manhattan’s Big Apple Con, Wintercon was born in 2014 with the vision of uniting Comic and Sci-Fi fans in one central location. Growing by leaps and bounds in recent years, 2016’s edition boasts perhaps their biggest event to date as it returned to the comfortable confines of Resorts World Casino in Jamaica, Queens. Commenced with a special screening of 1981’s Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior in downtown Brooklyn on Friday, December 2nd, in association with Alamo Drafthouse, the fun was just about to begin for fans of all ages.
Clearly centered around the 35th anniversary of the George Miller Action classic, the post-apocalyptic Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, a buzz was flowing through the air as fans walked into the sprawling room filled with vendors, autograph tables, and stage for panels. Of course the attendance of four key Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior alumni was not the only drawing card for the weekend. In addition, Wintercon managed to book Star Wars’ Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb), Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter), and Jack Klaff (Red Four). Quite an exciting list, considering the rebirthed popularity of the Star Wars franchise with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens and the forthcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Not to be overlooked, 1979’s New York City based classic The Warriors was also represented at Wintercon with a list of stars that included Michael Beck (Swan), James Remar (Ajax), David Harris (Cochise), Dorsey Wright (Cleon), Terry Michos (Vermin), Bryan Tyler (Snow), and Thomas G. Waites (Fox). If that was not enough, for more modern geekdom, The Walking Dead’s Austin Amelio (Dwight) and Khary Payton (King Ezekiel) were on hand signing autographs and also partaking in a special panel. For the Horror buffs, Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog 1980, Escape from New York 1981) made the trip to Wintercon while The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Karyn Parsons (Hilary Banks) and Saved By The Bell star Dustin Diamond’s (Screech) presence also drew much attention.
With a list of guests that did not stop there, the autograph lines were long, but moving. Thanks to the user-friendly floor plan, there was no overcrowding and the autograph area was nestled toward the back of the assembly room with a massive display of vendors out front. Speaking of vendors, there was everything from vintage toys, to t-shirts, to original art, and jewelry accessories on sale. Primed for the holidays, the vendors offered fair pricing and there is no doubt many bought more than their fair share of memorabilia.
While the guests and vendor section was plentiful, one has to wonder, how do they make an entire weekend of just that? Well, Wintercon thought that through and offered plenty of extra curricular activities including said Q&A panels, costume contests, and a time for Cosplayers to share their stories. Those coming as families, younger children were not left out of the fun either, as there was a children’s costume contest and a Jedi Academy where a free lightsaber was gifted to all who participated.
All in all, Wintercon 2016 was a successful weekend that ran smoothly. In perspective, it is still a relatively new effort, and with each passing year, offers something bigger, better, and more refined. Events like these are important in a major metropolis like New York City, and judging by the turn out, the area is responding. Hopefully the convention will continue to grow as it builds a following into 2017 and beyond.