Superheroes, zombies and even some celebrities will once again storm the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds this weekend at the city’s fourth biannual Comic Con, providing a space for Turlock geeks and pop culture fanatics to celebrate the world of comics, science fiction and fantasy under one roof.
According to event coordinator Ziggy Star, the previous three Comic Cons in Turlock have attracted thousands of community members looking to be transported to an alternate reality filled with some of their favorite characters.
Turlock’s first-ever Comic Con took place in February 2017, and nearly 3,000 attendees combined to make the event honoring the worlds of comics, science fiction and fantasy a huge success – so successful, in fact, that two more events were held months later, hosting equally-as-large crowds.
The draw of Comic Cons is nostalgia, Star said.
“I think everybody has experienced something in a movie or a show that’s touched their heart, whether it’s a song, a scene or a character they can relate to,” he said.
Star and his daughters attended a convention in Modesto a few years ago and were inspired to bring the first Comic Con to Turlock. Since then, the successful Turlock events have led the family to create their own convention organization, Ohana Comic Con, and they have since grown to host 36 different conventions throughout California this year alone.
“Turlock’s our home, so we always expect a big crowd,” said Star, whose events complete with celebrity guests, artist appearances and vendor booths attract attendees from as far as Petaluma and Reno, resulting in larger-than-life lines that wrap around the fairgrounds.
“The happiness and the effort these people put into their craft, it puts smiles on everybody’s faces. You see a character and you’re like, ‘Doggone it, they’re pretty good!’”Ziggy Star
The biggest appeal of Comic Con lies in the cosplaying, where adults, teens and children alike can play dress up without the fear of being judged, taking on the costume of their favorite pop culture characters. While well-known cosplayers will be at Turlock Comic Con dressed in realistic costumes, the public also gets in on the fun. The best costumes Star has seen at Turlock’s Comic Con so far include a realistic “Iron Man” and a frighteningly accurate “Predator.”
“The happiness and the effort these people put into their craft, it puts smiles on everybody’s faces,” Star said. “You see a character and you’re like, ‘Doggone it, they’re pretty good!’”
At events past, Turlock Comic Con has welcomed the likes of Debbie Lee Carrington, known for her roles in “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” and “Men in Black,” Turlock native Erika Ervin from “American Horror Story” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” stunt actor Nick Palma. This year, Disney artist K. Lynn Smith and C. Andrew Nelson, the only actor to have ever officially portrayed both Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker, will be at Turlock Comic Con signing autographs.
In addition to meeting celebrities, 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 over 100 vendors that will be present at the event.
A cosplay costume contest will also take place, Star added, and the competition has grown from about 20 competitors in the event’s first year to now over a hundred entries all competing for cash prizes.
Turlock’s fourth Comic Con will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 3 at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Advanced tickets can be purchased at Ziggy’s Video Game Exchange, 381 N. Golden State Blvd., or at the door on the day of the event.