CLAYTON — The second annual Clayton Rotary AnchorCon has been modified to build on last year’s success, with organizers responding to advice and recommendations from its inaugural year’s attendees.
Co-organizer Tanya Roy said one of the things organizers learned was that AnchorCon attendees wanted a chance to get off site – away from the Cerow Arena site for a while, and stretch their wings, capes, Batman ears, flippers, and various other costumes. props (cosplay).
One of the results is a comic-con convention highlight that promises to be a party boat for the ages: a VIP sunset cruise with cosplay karaoke on the evening of Saturday, August 20 with the karaoke aspect hosted by WWE wrestler Dewey Murray, aka “Real Mutha Trucka.
Attendees, ages 21 and up, can also mingle with AnchorCon celebrities with dancing, food and a cash bar during the cruise, which departs at 6:30 p.m.
“We decided to do something away from the arena this year, so we partnered with Clayton Island Boat Tours,” Roy said. “We like to say that we bring all the great things from a big city convention to our little convention in Clayton. This is one of the things we learned last year: people really wanted to leave the site at night. We asked, “What do we have that no other comic-con offers?” We have the St. Lawrence River.
The annual AnchorCon, August 19-21, is hosted by the Rotary Club of Clayton as a fundraiser, helping efforts ranging from digging wells in underdeveloped countries to funding local scholarships for young people.
“It’s important for Rotary to provide people with the opportunity to get the most out of the area in addition to enjoying the convention as well,” said Ms. Roy. “So doing something offsite gave us the opportunity to show Clayton and the St. Lawrence River a bit.”
River cruising is something for grown-ups, but AnchorCon 2022 is building on its reputation as a family-friendly event.
“We have a lot of activities for children like arts and crafts, puppet shows and workshops,” said Ms. Roy.
There’s something for everyone in the full AnchorCon program: games, special celebrity guests, vendors, cosplay contests, special artists, panels, and even a chalk creation and class taught by the Chalk twins. With so many choices and activities, the organizers want to make it easier for attendees to plan their visit.
“We have a busy schedule that is available online and will also be available in print when people arrive at the convention so they can walk around with the key that shows where all the vendors are and the schedule in their hand,” said Ms. Roy. . “We will have three or more entertainments going on at all times.”
The space for vendors has been expanded for AnchorCon 2022.
“We’ve doubled the number of vendors and community organizations and that kind of stuff on our vendor floor,” Roy said. “It’s also something we learned from last year: people are willing to go out for it. The shops and entertainment available on the floor are important to conventioneers. We also approached many community organizations.
Gambling attractions will include video and tabletop options.
“The field of video games is something that we didn’t have last year,” said Ms. Roy. “We had nowhere to play video games, so we contacted a company that specialized in this field.”
This company, Elite Gaming, is based in Syracuse. “They gave us a program for the weekend, so if you’re a beginner you can try a console. If you are a veteran, you can participate in a tournament,” said Ms. Roy.
Ethical Esports Ltd., a non-profit organization that opened last spring, will also feature in the video games area. Other attractions include the Syracuse University Libraries hosting a virtual escape room.
Watertown-based Knights of Thorn Games will occupy the arena mezzanine for tabletop gaming options.
“It’s a very welcoming environment for beginners, as well as veterans of any of these tabletop games,” Ms. Roy said. “They will be releasing three new tabletop games created by New Yorkers.”
Cosplay Events will feature adult contests with three categories and a children’s cosplay parade at 1:15 p.m. on Sunday, August 21.
“We just wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, no matter what you’re going to a convention for, including having your picture taken,” Ms. Roy said.
Photo opportunities will include photos with special guests and vehicles. Josh Herdman, best known for playing Gregory Goyle in all seven ‘Harry Potter’ movies, will be at AnchorCon next Saturday and Sunday, signing autographs, taking selfies, guest on a panel Sunday at 11 a.m. and he’s due to attend the cruise at sunset from AnchorCon. Mr. Herdman is now an amateur mixed martial arts fighter in England.
Convention vehicles will include the Ecto-1 stunt vehicle from the famous film “Ghost Busters”, with its handler creating mud, and a fandom car replica of the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans-Am from the film “Smokey and the Bandit”.
“We learned last year that people wanted to have their picture taken and we wanted to give them every opportunity to do so,” Roy said.
A green screen will enhance those opportunities this year.
“When someone shows up for a specific fandom, like ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ for example, you can have your picture taken with the car and we can digitally bring in a background from the movie,” Ms. Roy said. “You stand in front of the green screen, the computer takes your picture, and when that picture is sent to you, it looks like you’re inside the movie.”
There is no charge for these kinds of photo shoots, Ms. Roy said. “Everything is included in the ticket price, with very few exceptions.”
Exceptions include photos with the Ecto-1 slime maker and photos with celebrities.
“Anything not included in the cost is very clearly marked in the floor key,” Ms. Roy said.
a classic kickoff
The 2022 Clayton Rotary AnchorCon kicks off Friday night with an interactive screening of the 1971 cult classic, “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” In the film, Charlie Bucket was played by Lowville veterinarian Dr. Peter G. Ostrum. On Saturday, he must meet the public, sign autographs, be available for photos (for a fee) and be the guest of a question-and-answer panel. “He will also have golden tickets for people to buy and sign,” Ms Roy said.
The congress hall is not open on Friday evening. Tickets for the movie, starting at 8 p.m., are $5. The film is co-sponsored by The Butler Did It Players and The Thousand Islands Library Group. Ms. Roy is co-founder of the interactive theater troupe and will be one of the two actresses at the screening. She will play the bratty Veruca Salt while James Goodenbery will play Willy Wonka.
“She’s super fun to play,” Ms. Roy said. “I love performing it and it gives me a way to interact with the audience and convention attendees because I’m so busy on Saturday and Sunday.”
At the start of the film, the cast will explain the prop bags to hand out to the film’s guests.
“For example, when Charlie and Grandpa float up to the ceiling, people blow bubbles,” Ms Roy said.
Patrons will also be encouraged to sing and shout well-known lines from the film.
The Friday night movie is also a way for patrons to get a taste of comic-con, Ms. Roy said.
“So if maybe you’re not sure if you want to attend the convention, you can come see the movie, get a glimpse of what the ground looks like with all the booths set up and all the cars brought in, go to the movie , have a good time and encourage you to come back on Saturday or Sunday.
n WHAT: Clayton Rotary presents the second annual AnchorCon, a multi-fandom nonprofit comic book and gaming convention.
n WHERE: Cerow Arena, 615 E. Line Road, Clayton.
n WHEN: August 19 to 21.
n COST: Adult weekend passes are $32. A weekend family pass (two adults, two children) is $52. A child’s weekend pass, purchased with an adult ticket, costs $24. A VIP ticket costs $87 and a VIP Plus ticket costs $150. VIP Plus status includes a ticket for the Saturday Night Celebrity Cruise. Separate cruise tickets can be purchased for $50, but attendees must also have an AnchorCon ticket. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday only are $22 for ages 13 and older, $17 for military and seniors, $12 for kids 6-12, and free for kids 6 and under. Tickets for the Friday night screening of the interactive movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” are $5.
n MORE INFO, ORDER TICKETS: Go toanchorcomicon.com. Tickets will also be available at the entrance.
n PLEASE NOTE: Proceeds from the convention will benefit The Rotary Club of Clayton, established in 1925 and part of Rotary International, which leads change in the local community and around the world.