WinterCon 2016 (Resorts World Casino, Jamaica, NY)

Brace yourselves… WinterCon.

Alas, my last convention of the year but this one did not disappoint! Exhibitors, artists, panels, and celebrity appearances. And this con almost felt like a mini Star Wars convention:

Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from Episodes III-VIII), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb from Episodes VI-VIII, and some Ree-Yees/Yoda/Jabba), Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter from Episode IV), Jack Klaff (John D. Branon from Episode IV), and Bruce Spence (Tion Medon from Episode III).

They even had Star Wars music playing on loop throughout the con! But I would have to say that my favorite part of this con was the panel, “Chewbacca and the Rebel Pilots” featuring Peter Mayhew, Mike Quinn, Garrick Hagon, and Jack Klaff. By the way, we got seats in the second row!

It was 45 minutes of Star Wars talk moderated by artist/designer Kevin Liell of Norse Legion. The first 30 minutes were filled with Q&A’s with the pilots: anecdotes, behind the scenes, and origin stories.

Also some jokes… like how a young Jack Klaff in the James Bond classic For Your Eyes Only looks like Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)!

The final 15 minutes were open to fan questions. Kevin revealed that if the question was good enough, you’d get an exclusive 40th Anniversary Battle of Yavin patch. I was fourth and had to ask: “This question is for all the pilots… When you’re sitting in the cockpit, the camera only focuses on your chest and up. Do you wear pants? (Pause for comedic timing) I mean, the costume pants, or do you get to wear sweatpants or shorts, or something?” After a great deal of laughter, I got the patch AND a Rogue One Death Trooper pin!!! Best question of the panel.

Everything else was just as epic… Meeting them all individually for autographs and conversations, checking out which headshots they brought, and seeing which of my collectibles will shock them the most. The answer to the last one was my 2015 Topps Star Wars Masterwork card of authentic Chewbacca fur. You read that right! Authentic. Chewbacca. Fur.

Mr. Mayhew and his assistants stared at it for a good minute or two before sliding it back to me. I don’t think they understood that I wanted it signed!

Meanwhile, strolling through the convention floor we got to check out what exclusives were available ($79.99 Mad Max 2 boomerang replica & $49.99 James Bond Walther PPK replica), see some cool local artwork, and, of course, the impressive cosplay! I think this particular con had a higher cosplay to attendee ratio, and many of them were excellent! See video for more.

And I can’t leave without visiting the local 501st Legion booths! Looks like they caught a Wookiee blogger… It’s a trap!

I thought it was pretty clever for this Ackbar to be holding a… trap!

I hope with all of the Star Wars success these local expos have been getting that someone out there will realize what potential there is to have an actual Star Wars Convention in these here parts! I think there are tons of diehard fans around who would love to attend something like that. But until then, I’m looking forward to 2017’s shows & cons. Here’s a wrap-up video of what went on:

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