Science-fiction convention coming to Johnstown
A Science-fiction convention coming to Johnstown. Pictured above is Star Wars character Boba Fett preparing to enter the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown. (Submitted art)
In fact, last year's top three movies starred a boy wizard, a robot truck and a vampire.
Casey Bassett, of South Fork, is hoping that popularity will translate into a successful first-time science-fiction convention in Johnstown this May.
The 23 year-old organized the "Sci-Fi in the Valley Con" because he wanted a convention outlet for fellow fans in the region.
"There isn't anything like that around here," he said. "So I thought, why can't we have one in Johnstown?"
He then started Assett Conventions LLC and booked the Cambria County War Memorial Arena for May 18-20.
"I have been putting all of my time into this convention," he said. "I'm really excited that people are hearing about it and it's starting to get some attention."
"I want this to be a special event and hopefully become something we can do every year," he said.
Bassett grew up on science-fiction and his favorites included the "Star Wars" movies, "Star Trek" television shows and movies and the short-lived "Firefly" (think space cowboys and canceled by Fox network after eight episodes) television series.
He also self-published and authored "Z-SAT: The Zombie Survival Aptitude Test," an interactive test that gauges a reader's zombie apocalypse survival ability.
The test has been positively reviewed at Amazon.com and is for sale there.
The convention is going to feature filmmakers, comic book artists, authors, actors and tournaments.
Among the list of guests: Jeremy Ambler, who played a zombie in AMC's "The Walking Dead" hit television show, a possible appearance by actor David Orange, who played a Klingon in the "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" movie, authors Gary Lee Vincent and Rich Bottles Jr. and independent filmmakers John Johnson and Derek Young.
The tournaments will include the game popular game "Magic: The Gathering," "Warhammer 40,000" and "HeroClix." Magic is a collectible card-based game and the other two are popular miniatures-based games.
"We hope to build a huge set for the games in the building," Bassett said.
The convention will also likely feature some author and filmmaker panels. "We're working on that, but we haven't reached the point where we know the topics," he said.
More than 20 vendors have already signed onto the convention which includes the Pittsburgh-based Black Hearts Clothing store.
That company will be showing off their line of provocative, steampunk-inspired women's' outfits with models making their rounds on the arena floor.
Attendees are also encouraged to dress up, Bassett said. "That's all part of the fun," he said.
The convention's Facebook page has more than 1,300 friends and Bassett said that if the event is successful enough, he could turn organizing events into a career.
Since he was recently laid off from Concurrent Technologies Corporation's Systems Technology Center, he's increasingly seeing conventions as a career option.
"More and more time I'm putting into this and learning," he said. "Being an entrepreneur has always been something that I've wanted to do."
For those keeping score at home, the characters mentioned at the beginning of the story were Harry Potter, Optimus Prime and Edward Cullen, respectively.
Gross domestic sales for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" raked in $381 million, "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" pulled in $352 million and "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1" topped $281 million, according to the website Box Office Mojo.
For more information on the convention, visit http://scifiinthevalley.com online.