By Lethbridge Herald on November 14, 2015.
Bigger venue for entertainment convention a hit
Lethbridgeâ€™s largest pop culture convention is underway this weekend at the Enmax Centre.
The Lethbridge Entertainment Expo will be open today until 5 p.m. This is the first time the event has been held at the Enmax Centre, and Matthew Odland, the Expoâ€™s director of operations, said the event and the change of venue has been very well-received.
â€œEnmax is probably the best venue in the city to do a large-scale event in,â€ he said. â€œIt makes sense to be here, for sure.â€
Dan Thompson is a local resident who came to the Expo to see the celebrities and to support local artists.
â€œItâ€™s been awesome,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™ve had a great time meeting and talking to some of these people who have come here just makes me happy. It fills me with joy. Itâ€™s a good time, for sure.â€
Thompson said he likes the fact Lethbridge is able to put on events like the Expo, because itâ€™s an opportunity for people of many different interests to come together.
â€œThereâ€™s always going to be something weâ€™re going to be interested in, and so itâ€™s important for the community because it brings together people from different avenues that you might now necessarily see.â€
Local comic artist Eric Dyck (ericdyck.com) was at the Expo Saturday ahead of the release of â€œSlaughterhouse Slough: The Colouring Bookâ€ next week, a collaborative all-ages book. He said he has enjoyed the new venue.
â€œI think itâ€™s a definite upgrade,â€ he said. â€œItâ€™s really neat to have the Artistsâ€™ Alley overlooking the entire show; people come in and see us artists, and then they make their way down to centre ice to see all the vendors. This show, in particular, was destined to be here.â€
Dyck said the size of the event creates a good environment for local artists, who can become overwhelmed or overlooked at cons held in larger cities.
â€œAs this starts to build on its reputation, and we get people who are fans of those big city shows, they come down here and realize thereâ€™s a very vibrant community of cartoonists and comic makers here as well.â€
He also said he has been excited the number of people coming from communities outside Lethbridge for the event as its reputation expands.
â€œIt takes a bigger-name event such as this to bring people in from out of town and find that thereâ€™s a southern Alberta comics community that they can be a part of, too,â€ he said.
Natalie Asplund is another local comic book creator of the North West Mounted Police webcomic (redcoatwest.com). She said allowing local artists a space to interact with potentially new fans is an important part of growing local culture.
â€œItâ€™s really good to introduce (her art) to locals,â€ she said. â€œIt is fun to learn that these kinds of people are in the he area.â€
â€œGrowing up, I would have had no idea that there were other artists and stuff around,â€ she said. â€œSo itâ€™s really good to have stuff like this available.â€
Odland said that environment is inportant for fostering local talent.
â€œComic books, and art, and all that stuff is all really fantastic, but if you donâ€™t give the local talent recognition that what they are doing is worthwhile doing, then they may never do it,â€ he said. â€œSo itâ€™s up to us as promoters and a society to support them every chance we can.â€
Tickets are available at the door.