By LORI PINELLI - For the Star Beacon
Long gone are the days when “geeks” were known as carnival performers who bit the heads off live chickens. Geeks are now connoisseurs and fans of a various fiction and historical genres. Some are comic book collectors, game enthusiasts and those who like to dress up like superheroes. Any Geek is welcome at the N.E. Geek Expo on Nov. 3 from 12:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds, 127 N. Elm St.
You don’t have to be a geek to enjoy the second annual gathering of the event.
“The expo is for anyone who’s interested in hobbies like comic books, board or video games, and fiction book series. Maybe you liked the Spiderman movie and never read a comic book. You can find the character’s background story, where they got their start,” said David Jackson, who helped create the event.
The comic with the very first appearance of Spiderman will be shown by Scott Hendricks of Ashtabula. His comic book display includes many significant issues of major Marvel and DC, originally Detective Comics, characters.
A group of modern-day Vikings from Austinburg, N.E.O. Vik, will set up a campsite on the fairgrounds. They will show spectators crafts, jewelry, reenact historical Viking battling, and have a fire breathing show.
“Vikings performed the act of fire breathing as a way of entertaining themselves,” said Tristan Kujanpaa, founder N.E.O. Vik.
“We want to educate people that Vikings were not just barbarians. They were skilled craftsman, traders and explorers,” he said.
Victor Danbridge, a comic book artist from Vantage Inhouse Productions will bring his stylized drawing to the show.
“Danbridge takes any character and makes them look like an old Nintendo character. Victor said he’s coming with a big announcement,” said Jackson.
There will be games for kids, along with a costume contest and a coloring contest. The coloring contest this year is sponsored by Super Awesome Comics, an independent artist from Conneaut. Kids can bring their Nintendo DS to challenge a Pokemon Master to Pokemon Black and White to win prizes.
Actors from Temenos Productions of Warren, Ohio will entertain the crowd with their family friendly interactive street theatre. They will be in character as pirates, knights, princesses, fairies and other mythical creatures.
Chelsea Zandergrift, who plays Tinkerbelle, said, “We bring a little magic.”
“We’re working on characters now with a more historical twist to the make-believe,” said Zandergrift.
One of the vendors at the show will be Spaceman Floyd’s Cosmic Toys in Madison. The store buys and sells vintage toys from the early 90’s, gags, novelties, comics, video games and newer toys.
Nathan Wheatley and his fencing group from Cleveland will be doing a live demonstration of their sword fighting skills. Wheatley grew up in Ashtabula, and is excited to showcase his talent to his home community.
Festival revelers do not need to wear costumes. Last year, of the nearly 330 attendees, about 120 came without costumes.
Sarah Mandrake, of Ashtabula, will be wearing a Sailor Neptune disguise this year.
“Personally, I always love costumes. I like going to meet other people with similar interests as well as hanging out with my friends,” said Mandrake.
David Stouffer, of Kingsville, experimented with his “Joker” disguise last year at the Erie mall before wearing it to the geek expo. As expected, the comments he got at the mall were less than favorable, but many complimented his costume at the show.
“Going to the expo will get you out of the normal, where you can experience being something you enjoy, surrounded by people who understand it and appreciate it,” said Stouffer.
The event’s founders, David Jackson, Mark Levis, Jonathan Richardson, Anthony Loveridge, Adam Dresnek and Mark Ferguson plan to hold the geeky get-together for years to come.
Admission for the N.E. Geek Expo is $5 for adults and children over ten. Kids under ten are admitted free. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit N.E. Geek on Facebook.