A chance to get your geek on in Hay River

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If all goes well, fans of gaming, pop culture, cosplay, science fiction and more will be able to gather in Hay River next year for their very own convention.

It would be Hay River’s own version of conventions that have spread all over the world inspired by the famed San Diego Comic-Con.

An initiative has been launched to organize what’s being called Get Your Geek Con, tentatively for August of next year.

Adam Aylward is president of the organizing committee for a Comic-Con-like event – called Get Your Geek Con – being planned for next year in Hay River.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A first organizing meeting was held on Aug. 8, and about six people showed up.

Adam Aylward, who became president of the organizing committee at the meeting, is pleased with the interest.

“So we got a board selected, but I know that there are more people interested because they said they couldn’t attend but they’d really be interested in helping out,” he said.

Other members of the board are Peter Magill, Storm Larocque, Cheryl Courtoreille, Brenda Hall and Leslie Schnyder.

One of the first decisions of the board was to keep the tentative name Get Your Geek Con.

“They decided that they want to stick with that name because it is very definitive,” said Aylward.

Plus, the meeting generated a lot of ideas, he noted. “We’re all in agreement that we want it to be a wide-ranging event. So not just Dungeons and Dragons and cosplayers.”

That means the convention will likely include things like sports cards collectors, possibly remote control racing, and maybe a video game tournament.

“We generated a lot of ideas and we’re very enthusiastic, and that’s I could really ask for – enthusiastic board members who see the possibility of what we could do,” said Aylward.

The aim is for the convention to become an annual event.

The idea originated with Peter Magill while he was attending the first Aurora-Con in High Level, Alta., in 2018.

“I was really kind of excited by it and I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we have something like this in Hay River?'” he recalled.

So Magill raised the idea with Aylward, who three years ago created a Facebook page called Geek Flag, which features pop culture, humour, movie trailers, tech advice and more.

Magill said a Hay River convention would be something different than the two closest similar events – Aurora-Con and Ptarmicon in Yellowknife.

For one thing, he would like to see Get You Geek Con feature collectibles, vinyl records, CDs, movies and books.

“We’re such a small population we might as well put everything together all in one basket, and just try to attract as many people to share their experiences and expertise,” he said.

It is also expected that the convention would feature cosplay when people dress up as their favourite fictional characters, most often from science fiction and superhero movies and comics.

Magill said he is not one to dress up himself.

“But it is fun to see people dressing up,” he said. “It is amazing just how much work goes into some of their costumes.”

Aylward also expects cosplay to be featured at the convention.

“That is definitely part of it,” he said. “I’d love to get people to come out in costumes because that’s an event in itself.”

With the convention a year away, there is a lot of time to work on the details.

However, Aylward already has a celebrity in mind to invite to the event.

That would be well-known Canadian actor Tom Jackson, who most people will know from the TV series North of 60. However, Aylward pointed out that Jackson also performed in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Aylward also noted a comic book has just been released featuring an Inuit superhero, and he plans to contact the comic’s creator about possibly coming to the convention.

Aylward said the overall response to the idea of Get Your Geek Con has been very good in the community.

“So that is reassuring to me,” he said. “I had a lot of people say, ‘I don’t know what I can do, but I’d really like to volunteer.'”

Aylward noted the convention would be non-exclusive and would welcome all aspects of pop culture.

“We’re kind of welcoming to everybody,” he said. “I mean sports cards are not really considered for a geek convention, but there are a lot of people who geek out about sports cards.”

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