Walk into Jacksonville Expo Center at the Fairgrounds between Friday, April 1 and Sunday, April 3 and you just may find that rare piece of sci-fi memorabilia you’ve been waiting to unearth for the last 10 years. You may find that there are more people than you’d ever imagined, all of whom share your fanaticism for devilishly handsome actor Kevin Sorbo (he played Hercules on the TV series of the same name). Who knows? You may just find your future spouse … dressed up as Chewbacca. That’s the beauty of Collective Con 2016, a three-day convention that brings together fans, special guests, music and collectables that span many genres, all under one roof in Jacksonville.
The brain-child of part-owner Christopher Major and his friends, Collective Con is not your average gathering of super-fans. Wanting to expand beyond the traditional comic-book-centric conventions that thrive around the world, these young entrepreneurs decided to house anime, horror, sci-fi and video games alongside the traditional comic book vendors in order to widen the reach those collectible conventions serve.
Major’s partners, Mike Yokan and Jason Lewis of Welcome to Rockville fame, pushed to include a healthy dose of afterhours music to round out the draw and capacity of Collective Con 2016. Well-known indie band Of Montreal and local standouts Tomboi close out the event on Sunday with what’s sure to be a collective explosion of sounds.
“There will be something for everyone,” Major shared. “Everyone from the ardent collector to the casual observer will enjoy the convention.”
Coming off a successful 2015 Collective Con, which was host to more than 5,000 visitors, Collective Con creators stepped up their proverbial game by listening to the feedback of the first year’s attendees.
“Folks were impressed with the overall set-up of our convention,” said Major. “We received a slew of compliments and congratulations. But, we also received some good words of advice from folks who travel around to conventions all over the world and know how these things run.”
According to Major, last year’s visitors wanted to see A-list guests and a better schedule layout so that there weren’t as many overlapping events. Collective Con’s brain trust paid attention and consequently secured such notable guests as Robin Lord Taylor, who plays Oswald Cobblepot, aka “The Penguin” on Gotham, and Candice Patton, who stars in The Flash, to join the earlier-mentioned TV titan and heartthrob Sorbo. Other well-recognized celebs will round out the event, spending plenty of time meeting-and-greeting and autographing for eager attendees all weekend long.
And why have this collective land upon Northeast Florida? “Jacksonville is perfectly located and diverse enough to support a convention like ours. We can draw from the region outside of our city limits and we know that there are plenty of folks who follow the circuit who come to Jacksonville and make a vacation out of it,” Major explained.
“Folks around the country enjoy gathering at conventions like these because they can find rare or sold-out collectibles in pristine condition,” Major added.
And a plethora of fans look forward to the costume contest, which — due to its immense popularity — was moved to Saturday night prime-time. “People go all out,” Major said, ”and that makes it great for everyone.”
So shake the dust off that Vader cape (OK, we know you wear it every week) and get to ColCon 2016 in Downtown.