There are several different conventions in Western New York. The biggest, however, is Nickel City Con. Nickel City Con is an annual weekend-long event honoring the biggest and best in pop culture, including movies, television, comic books, and video games. This major event took place this past weekend from May 17th to May 19th. Cosplayers, gamers, and geeks of all kind gathered to celebrate what they love.
There was a lot of excitement going on throughout the weekend. Big-name celebrity guests were in attendance so that convention-goers could meet their idols for pictures and autographs. Stars such as Marky Ramone of the Ramones, former professional wrestler Kevin Nash, 90’s Nickelodeon legends Danny Tamberelli and Michael Maronna, and others attended to meet and greet with their fans. Some of the biggest names in horror graced the Horror Fest area like Tony Moran who played Michael Myers in Halloween and Alex Vincent from Child’s Play. Unlike other cons, the lines to meet these pop culture icons were fairly short, making it easier to get photos and autographs from all the celebrities, while still having plenty of time to enjoy the rest of the event. Fans also had the opportunity to interact with these celebs during Q&A panels.
The Horror Fest area at Nickel City Con is particularly interesting. Horror Fest is essentially a mini convention encompassed within the bigger event – it narrows in on celebrating the horror genre of pop culture. Outside of the horror-based celebrities in attendance, there were several spooky vendors like Buffalo Ghostbusters, Black Cat Design, and paranormal author James Alan Ross. It was a terrifyingly exciting experience walking down each aisle of booths to see gory handmade masks and creepy sculpted dolls looking back at you.
A massive video game freeplay room was a delight to see. It was the perfect space for gamers to chat about their favorite games, and challenge each other to a match. It was also a nice place to sit down, relax, and play some games when you wanted to take a break from walking around the expo hall. Some of the video games available to play were Dragon Ball Fighter Z, Super Smash Bros. – Ultimate, Call of Duty, and many more. There were also tournaments held throughout the weekend in the video game room for attendees with a more competitive side. For those looking for a nostalgia fix, there was a retro gaming area added to the video game freeplay room, featuring games like Pac-Man, Sonic the Hedgehog (a personal favorite of mine), and some of the classic Mario Kart games.
The Buffalo & Erie County Library ran what was dubbed the Kids Zone, but I feel like the zone had a lot to offer for every member of the family. This area offered interactive workshops and activities for kids, like arts and crafts, superhero trivia, and mad science experiments. Attendees of the Kids Zone could also make their own buttons and magnets, make and launch missiles at a giant inflatable Death Star, take home free comic books, and sign up for a library card. A lot of fun was had by children and parents alike.
The main expo hall was the place to be at Nickel City Con. This is where most of the special guests and vendors were found. There was a wide variety of vendors and booths to visit, including an interactive Fisher-Price area for kids and a photo op space with a Marty McFly look-alike (with an actual DeLorean car). The American Force Academy showed off some professional lightsaber skills, and there were several booths selling classic video games and comic books, along with a booth selling handmade medieval-style journals. A huge amount of comic book writers and artists were present, selling hand-drawn prints, signing autographs, and meeting face to face with their fans. There was something for everyone to enjoy in the main expo hall.
Like most conventions, cosplay was in full force. Convention-goers dressed as their favorite characters from comic book figures and movie stars, to anime, TV show, and video game personalities. Cosplayers ranging from the Shredder (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) to Nathan Drake (Uncharted) were seen around the con. Of course, the always entertaining Cosplay Contest brought in a huge crowd for those wanting to see what creative costumes contestants were able to pull off. There were categories for kids (ages 10 and under), young adults (ages 11 to 17), and adult (ages 18 and older).
Nickel City Con has unfortunately come to a close in 2019, but there is always next year to look forward to. Until then, you can check out all their news and announcements here.