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Comic Con returning to Turlock
Comic Con pic
Turlock Comic Con will return to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds on Sept. 4. - photo by Journal file photo

In February, over 2,500 people flocked to the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds to participate in Turlock’s first-ever Comic Con, transporting the city’s geeks and pop culture enthusiasts to an alternate reality filled with superheroes, zombies and even some celebrities. For those who may have missed the first one, or want to participate in the fun again, there’s good news: Turlock Comic Con is back.

According to event coordinator Ziggy Star, the decision to host another celebration of the comic, science fiction and fantasy worlds wasn’t a difficult one. In fact, he said, the community asked him to do it again.

“Well, the first one really surpassed everyone’s expectations, so they really wanted us to do it again,” he said. “It gave families something fun and cheap to do, which was our main goal.”

Comic Cons are some of the only places adults can play dress up without fear of being judged, and are held all over the nation as celebrations of many different aspects of geek culture, from film and television shows to comic books and video games. At the conventions, many often partake in cosplay, which is the practice of dressing up as a character from pop culture.

“We really want people to dress up, because it’s about the people having a good time,” said Star. “You can dress up as anything, whether it’s your favorite character from ‘Gilligan’s Island’ or the new stuff.”

Star and his daughters attended a convention in Modesto last year and decided that Turlock needed a Comic Con of its own. The result was a day filled with celebrity guests, artists appearances and vendor booths with larger-than-life lines wrapping around the fairgrounds – some attendees travelling from as far as Petaluma and Reno to attend. Round two is expected to be even larger, said Star.

“The big request from everyone was, ‘Please, get another building,’ so this time, the event will be held in two buildings,” he said. “Now, we’ll have twice the room, twice the vendors and twice the fun.”

The large crowds at the last event caused the venue to be cramped, he added, so the expansion will be a welcomed improvement.

Aside from more space, Turlock’s next Comic Con will be different from its first thanks to the presence of some different pop culture stars.

The event will feature guests such as Debbie Lee Carrington, known for her roles in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “Men in Black,” “Baywatch,” and “Seinfeld” and Gregg Sargeant, a stuntman who has appeared in films like “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Gangster Squad.” Meet and greets as well as autographs will be available from the event’s special guests, and Deathworkz will terrify guests once again with a haunted house at the event. At the convention, pop culture lovers will also be able to shop for memorabilia and buy unique, handmade items pertaining to their favorite books, shows and films from the countless vendors that will be present.

The real excitement for most who attend, however, is in those who cosplay. Well-known cosplayers will be at Turlock Comic Con dressed in realistic costumes, like Deadpool, Captain America and Harley Quinn, and there will also be $250 in prizes given away to those with the best costumes.

“The main reason people come is to take pictures with their favorite characters, and I think people come just to trip on other people’s costumes and how good they are. That’s what drew me in,” said Star. “It’s like being on a cruise. Everybody is happy.”

According to Star, there are still a few vendor booths available for rent at the Turlock Comic Con. To reserve a space, call 209-667-8214. Admission to the convention is $6 at the door and $5 for tickets bought in advance. Tickets can be bought at Ziggy’s Video Game Exchange, located at 381 N. Golden State Blvd. in Turlock.

The Turlock Comic Con will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 4 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds.