Parafest 2013 Recap
I just got back from Parafest in Bethlehem, PA (where I was helping to (wo)man a Broad Universe table in the vendor hall) and It.Was.Awesome! That might just be the fatigue talking because Parafest as vendor is a long, long event, but I have never been to a fan convention like this one. It's probably not that much different than a comicon, but since I've never been to one of those, I will be using my full array of awe on Parafest.
So...where to start? Well, let's see...here's our vendor table (that's my very, very good friend who let me drag her along holding the sign with my name):
Here's a wider shot of the vendor hall to give you an idea of the scope/size of the thing (this was one of three rows/aisles):
Friday was pretty quiet, with low attendance, so apparently some of the actors/celebrities who were there for panels and autograph signing got bored, and they started wandering through the vendor hall. At one point, I looked up and did a double take because MARK SHEPPARD (who was sort of one of the main reasons I drove SIX HOURS EACH WAY to attend this event and by the way, did I mention ::drool!!!::) was standing there, talking to the woman at the booth next to ours (author Rebecca R. Cohen, who is super sweet and who I had a lot of fun chatting with throughout the weekend). I thought Sheppard was coming down the line, chatting with all the vendors, so I did NOT do a fan-girl freak out, instead, playing it cool--which totally backfired (or maybe I was giving him crazy eye and that's what scared him off) because Sheppard then proceeded to skip our booth and visit the vendor diagonally across from us. I almost burst into tears. I was crushed - so close and yet so far! I spent the next few hours self-flagellating over my damnable shyness, which crops up at the stupidest moments.
However, all was not lost, sports fans, and there is a happy ending: I stumbled upon Sheppard signing autographs and taking pics with fans later that day and got my picture taken with him (AKA: Mark Sheppard put his arm on my shoulder!!! ::swoon::).
On the right is my very, very good friend again who let me drag her along to this crazy convention and without whom I probably wouldn't have gotten this picture: she's the one who approached Sheppard and asked if we could get a pic with him. Thank you, Heather!!!
During the weekend, Dave Tango of Ghost Hunters and Travis Wester of Supernatural and Ghostfacers also swung by Rebecca Cohen's booth, plus I saw Sebastian Roche (Fringe, Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural), Lew Temple (The Walking Dead) and Chip Coffey (who smiled and waved to me when he saw me light up and smile in recognition) walk through the vendor hall.
Then there was the "floor show"--the live entertainment that occurred courtesy of other vendors and costumed actors. These guys (repping the Hotel of Horror)
were at the table across from us in the vendor hall and enjoyed sneaking up on people and scaring the beejeebers out of them. There was a rotating crew with different costumes each day. Occasionally, these guys would throw down with one of the other roaming costumed actors. Here, the scary clown from Hotel of Horror is throwing down with the Joker:
There were also throw downs with Freddy Kruegar, which I wish I had snapped a picture of.
And then there were the fan costumes. Oh, the costumes! This is a picture of Karen von Oppen, designer and owner of KvO Design:
Karen was amazingly nice and if you like steampunk, be sure to check out her Etsy shop.
And there were ghostbusters galore (yes, that is a FAN/homemade costume!):
Including this team of six (also all home-made. And BTW, why don't I have friends this cool?!):
Now, I happen to be old enough to have seen the original Ghostbusters movie when it first came out. It occurred to me this weekend, as I watched people line up to get Ernie Hudson's signature, that Ghostbusters is almost thirty years old. Think about that for a second--THIRTY YEARS LATER, people are still willing to drive for hours to stand in line to get one of the actor's signature or photograph because of how much they love that movie, because of how real and compelling they found the world, the characters, the mythos of the story. As an author, that thought is one of those things that makes me well up with awe and amazement. How many of us can say our work will endure so long or so faithfully in people's hearts and minds?
So, what else? Well, there was food, there was shopping (if you live near a Charming Charlies I'm coming to visit!!!), and there was a ton of interesting people that I really enjoyed meeting.
And Mark Sheppard put his arm around me.
Terri Bruce has been making up adventure stories for as long as she can remember and won her first writing award when she was twelve. Like Anne Shirley, she prefers to make people cry rather than laugh, but is happy if she can do either. She produces fantasy and adventure stories from a haunted house in New England where she lives with her husband and three cats.