Saturday, Oct 20, 2018
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Hundreds attend pop culture convention in Toledo

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    Teddy Kusak ("All Might"), left, Bekah Kusak, ("Kyoka") center, and Lynette Ayersman, ("Momo") from 'My Hero Academia' attend the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo.

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    Bree Powell as a character from RWBY during the Glass City Con/Midwest Media Expo at SeaGate Convention Centre on Sunday.

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    Sami LaBelle runs an art booth during the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo.

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    Addi Kalmbach, left and Drew Young, rght, laugh during the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo at the SeaGate Convention Centre.

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    Meghan Ragle plays a classic video game during the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo.

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    Local artist Sophia Thanoi smiles at customers during the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo at SeaGate Convention Centre.

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    Cutouts of video game and cartoon characters made by local artist Mandy Ecenbarger.

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    Jada Russell, left, who is dressed as a maid, and Christopher Soto, right, who is dressed as a Akatsuki character from "Naruto," look at posters to buy during the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo at SeaGate Convention Centre.

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A steady flow of people dressed as characters from video games, anime, and western animation converged Saturday and Sunday at the SeaGate Convention Centre in Toledo for the first-ever merger between Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo.

“We’ve had an amazing crowd,” said Morgan Kollin, chairman of Defying Conventions and Youmacon, an annual anime convention in Detroit.

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Teddy Kusak ("All Might"), left, Bekah Kusak, ("Kyoka") center, and Lynette Ayersman, ("Momo") from 'My Hero Academia' attend the Glass City Con and Midwest Media Expo.

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The two events came together as a way to help them both: Glass City Con’s chairman didn’t want to run the event anymore, and last year Midwest Media Expo was canceled after it was left without a venue. Mr. Kollin, who runs Midwest Media Expo and now Glass City Con, said he thought the two organizations were a good fit to host a single event, and staff from both were working together to bring a quality convention to Toledo.

“Honestly, our hopes are just to bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces,” Mr. Kollin said.

The event featured artists’ and collectors’ booths filled with comic books, T-shirts, jewelry, leatherwork, drawings, and paintings as well as a gaming room and special guests, including cosplayers, YouTubers, gamers, and artists.

Kristen Lucievna has attended Midwest Media Expo every year with her friend, Charles Hummer, since it began in 2014 in Detroit. They’ve kind of followed the event as it traveled to Toledo, she said, and even went to the small gathering that staff pulled together after the event was canceled last year.

“It’s nice to support small cons,” she said.

If small cons get enough support from the community and attendees, she said, then they can grow and become bigger cons with more activities and special guests.

Damian Black of Wayne, Mich., ran a booth at the event Sunday to showcase and sell his pop-culture jewelry and costume accessories. Mr. Black attends conventions, fairs, and festivals every weekend throughout the year. He’s been a fixture at several events in Toledo, including Glass City Con, for several years.

“If you can get paid to do what you love, you might as well,” he said.

Mr. Black said activity was a little slow Sunday morning but on par for this event. It’s not yet at the level of Motor City Comic Con in Novi, Mich., or Cincinnati Comic Expo. But he also echoed what Ms. Lucievna said: small, local events like this one can expand into the types of cons much larger cities host.

“Support the smaller event, it becomes a bigger event,” he said. “Feed it, and it grows.”

By Sunday morning, Mr. Kollin estimated that 1,000 people had come through, and he anticipated more as the afternoon continued. Staff has already begun working on a schedule for next year, he said, and Mr. Kollin hoped to announce at least some of next year’s lineup in the next couple of weeks.

Contact Kate Snyder at ksnyder@theblade.com, 419-724-6282, or on Twitter @KL_Snyder.

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