After years of planning and organizing, the first ever GrandeCon event has been deemed a success as more than 3,100 people attended the event in Grande Prairie.
Odyssey House Executive Director Lisa Watson says the event, quite simply, exceeded everyone’s expectations.
“The response from the community was amazing. Just hearing about the buzz going around about the event, the laughter, the engagement everyone had with our artists and vendors and the 501st Legion as well was just amazing.”
The event featured some big-name guests such as Lou Ferrigno, George Takei, and Veronica Taylor. Watson feels that not only did they enjoy their time at the event, but also the community overall.
“I think one of the neatest things to see was that they were out there engaging with RCMP and I know George Takei and his partner Brad were out at the Pride crosswalk. The response back from the community knowing that too was also really positive.”
A big highlight of the event was the cosplay contest, which saw many different entries.
“This is something that people put a lot of thought and work into. Some people spent almost a year putting together their costumes. It was also really neat to see the kids here engage and experience something that was totally new to our community,” Watsob says.
Another part of the event that stood out was the 501st Legion’s presence.
“Just them being here and engaging with everyone for the Padawan training and the droids that they brought out throughout the event was really neat to see. I think the biggest highlight was the variety of people that attended the event,” she says.
The event was put together by a large number of people, but mostly volunteers.
“We had so many people put time and effort into this. Then we had our support from Norm Coyne and the FanCon crew. It really was a team effort,” Watson says.
Now that the first year of GrandeCon is in the books, Watson says more is in store for the event next year.
“It was a learning event for us. Everything went really well but there are small things I think that we’re going to try to change for next year. We’d like to include more vendors. Next year we are planning for a bigger and better event and we’re really looking forward to 2023.”
Totals are still being calculated in terms of how much was raised and will be provided when they are available. The event took place from July 15th to July 17th at Bonnetts Energy Centre
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly gave the amount raised. We regret the error.