Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bangor Comic & Toy Convention!

This past weekend was the Bangor Comic & Toy Convention (BCTC), the first big Comic Con event for this area!  

The event ran from Friday thru Sunday and featured several famous folks that appeal to all ages!  They had Billy Dee Williams ("Lando Calrissian" from Star Wars), Deep Roy (the new Star Trek movies, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory), Gigi Edgley (Farscape), Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth, HellBoy movies), Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters), Mark Ryan (voice of Bumblebee in "Transformers") and many more!  BCTC also had wrestler "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Red, Black, Blue and Yellow).

And for the Star Wars book readers out there, they had Timothy Zahn!

(Last fall, there was an Comic Con type event called "Bang Pop" but it didn't have much to offer.  They had one of the supporting stars from Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead and some comic artists.  I attended it for the cosplay contest and didn't stay long...there just wasn't much there.)

BCTC really had something for every walk of Science Fiction.

R2-D2 were invited to be a part of the 3-Day event and given a booth.  We would have a chance to meet the public and have people take photos with R2.

Show Prep

Before I could get R2-D2 to the show, I had to deal with the weather and my quirky, 13-year old Honda Odyssey.

After a very long winter with record snow fall, I was concerned my front yard would be too soft and muddy to drive onto.  I can only get R2-D2 out the front door!  While the snow had all melted off, a week of rain had be concerned.  I was afraid driving my van on the lawn would be like an X-Wing landing on Dagobah!

I also hadn't driven the van since November, so it had sat for months.  As luck would have have the battery was dead.  And...I noticed the inspection and registration had expired.  Nuts!  

I had my friend bring over his jumper cables and we were able to get my van to run.  After a night on a battery charger, we're back in business.

The lawn was extremely soft the morning of the event.  I left some deep impressions on the lawn from driving on it...but hoping those will flatten out!

The event was held at the Cross Insurance Center, which opened in 2013, replacing the old Bangor Auditorium and Civic Center.  Its a fantastic facility and draws in some excellent acts our previous facility could not support.  While the BCTC event is going on, a Monster Truck Show is going on as well!  

Getting unloaded and setup took some time, with many vendors and there as well as the Monster Trucks next door taking up a lot of room.  One of the Monster Truck teams was quite impressed to see R2-D2 come out of the van.  Meanwhile, I was completely impressed with their HUGE truck.  We chatted for a while, then I was able to wiggle R2-D2 into the building.

Once situated in my booth, I had R2 setup with plenty of time before the event started.  I had a chance to meet my "neighbors", some vendors from southern Maine and Timothy Zahn, a well-known author of many Star Wars books.  We had a chance to chat about many things, including the latest Star Wars 7 trailer.

Show time!

On Friday the show ran from 2pm to 6pm.  Pretty much from the start of the show to closing time, I had a steady line of visitors asking to take a picture with R2-D2, asking questions about how I built it, the R2 Builders Club and where they heard about R2 and I.  I was impressed to meet so many people that have followed our charitable efforts from news and print stories.  

Timothy Zahn, R2 and I
More show pictures from Days 1, 2 and 3.

Billy Dee Williams ("Lando") in the background!

Deep Roy

The show was a fantastic success and as I reflect on it a few days later...

1)  Have a partner to help out!  I missed all the discussion panels since I always had a line wanting to see R2-D2.  Bathroom breaks weren't too difficult, I could always ask one of the 501st troopers to guard R2!  But for a 3 day event, you need to give yourself a break here and there.  I need to do that next time!

2)  Always recharge the batteries each night.  One night I forgot to let the electronics battery recharge.  Thankfully a quick charge got me through the day but 8 hours of beeping noises and lights will eventually drain a battery!

3)  Have signs that say "No charge for photos".  The celebrities charged for autographed photos or pictures.  Of course, I do not...but was asked repeatedly.   It also wouldn't hurt to have some cards that link to my blog of Facebook Page for R2.