It’s amazing to me the popularity of pop culture conventions. Big cons, small cons, they’re all wildly successful. This past weekend I attended the smallest convention I’ve ever been to. In the heart of Campbell, CA, in a bustling Community Center, Campbell Con was born.
Campbell, California isn’t necessarily known for conventions. It’s a small city in the heart of Silicon Valley where a lot of it’s residents commute to it’s bigger brothers to Google or Apple headquarters in Mountain View or Cupertino. But this past Saturday the parking lot was full at the Campbell Community Center. Sure there was a large soccer tournament in the complex nearby. And sure there were several community events in the center such as swimming and Iyengar Yoga classes. But in a small banquet hall was a charming comic convention packed to the brim.
When I arrived I spent a short amount of time looking for the actual building. There weren’t a lot of signs and it was rather far back from the parking lot. Luckily I was able to follow a couple of Jedis and storm troopers cosplaying to the main entrance.
The line was probably 50 people long. It went by pretty fast. I received my wrist band and I was in. Honestly the first thing I noticed was how small the show was. One could probably walk around the entire floor without stopping in less than a minute. This absolutely was not to take away from the show. All the tables and aisles were packed with attendees. They had every type of vendor you would normally find in a bigger convention but just a lot less. They had a variety of artists tables, vintage and new toys and about 4 comic book dealers.
In the back they also had a stage where their guest of honor, Chris Marrinan, had setup. He was selling prints and signing autographs. Right next to him was Guiness world record holder, Omar Morales. Omar Morales holds the record for the largest comic book ever published. A whopping 2 ft by 3 ft print of his comic book, CruZader: Agent of the Vatican. Next to Omar was Matt Hebb. An awesome artist and comic book writer who’s art we’ve commissioned a few months ago at Big Wow.
There were several other guests that had tables in the foyer right near the entrance. I was surprised by how many great guests attended this show. Some of the others were Debbie Lee Carrington who’s worked on Total Recall, Seinfeld, Men In Black and my personal favorite, Romba, the Ewok. Other comic book artists such as Joe Weems, John Heebink, and Steve Sherman were also able to attend.
The cosplay was surprisingly strong for a small show. Several attendees arrived in costume. Particularly there were a lot of stormtroopers and Jedis. As for food amenities, I only saw one ice cream concession stand next to the registration table. Which was perfectly fine considering all the restaurants nearby. One nice touch I enjoyed was the gaming area in the adjacent building. There they held Magic the Gathering and X-Wing Minatures tournaments. I actually wish more shows catered to the gaming community. I’m glad Campbell Con added these events.
All in all I believe the show was a complete success! It probably didn’t pull a lot of out of towners, but there’s something a bit more intimate going to a small local show. There were a myriad of guests and just enough exhibitors to satisfy every attendee. There was something or some guest for everyone. I hope the organizers of Campbell Con continue this new show for several years. It’s an afternoon of fun for the entire family that doesn’t break the bank. Great show!