Calgary has officially outed themselves as nerds, and we like it.
The 10th Anniversary of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo just concluded at Stampede Park. Our friend and colleague, Alex Kingcott (Shareworthy Content Lab), directs media & PR for the organization, and has opened our eyes to the weird and wonderful delights of a pop culture convention. As Alex says, “Nerds are the best people in the world because they’re unabashedly passionate.” After walking the convention floor and taking in a few panels, we have to say that we agree. Here is what we saw at Calgary Expo 2015…
NEIL PATRICK HARRIS
He was truly legend…. What for it… Dary!
In a last minute shocker, the Calgary Expo crew announced Thursday that legendary showman Neil Patrick Harris would be making a one-day appearance on Friday. We were lucky enough to snag floor seats for the evening panel hosted by Calgary Expo Host Emily Expo. Neil was charming, honest, and illuminating. What a star! And what a coup for Expo – Calgary was his first convention appearance ever. Even the Mayor came out to say hello, congratulate Emily Expo and her team on 10 years, and ask a question: How DID that Oscar ballot magic trick work?
Our friend Mike Morrison from MikesBloggityBlog actually recorded the panel for Periscope, and it’s up on this site here. Check out to the shout-out to Alex at 15 minutes, and the Mayor’s question at 20 minutes.
And of course, Neil couldn’t leave town with hanging out with Mr.Mayor in an epic way; in a nationally trending Mayor Selfie.
Alex tells us that they estimate about 40% of fans who attend the show come in costume. Think about all the spandex and glue! We were blown away by the looks we saw when we were there, and it’s reason enough to attend. Cosplay (Costume-play), is a huge part of the event. Check out this video that shows off just SOME of the incredible fan creations.
It’s clear when you spend time walking around Calgary Expo that their team has had their work cut out for them – a HUGE convention centre (they take up almost every building of the Park) that needs to be branded, organized, and programmed. Somewhere in Calgary, there must a be a warehouse full of assets because the branding we saw around the event wasn’t just clear, consistent, and creative – it was everywhere! They even have a real-life ‘Host’ to match their poster girl image, to speak on behalf of the Expo and champion the fan. Not to mention a glossy program guide, iPhone app, daily newsprint schedules, and live screens throughout the convention. We were fascinated by their infrastructure of media, social media, video/visual graphics that seemed to operate constantly and keep them trending nationally for four days. We know that that kind of coordinated effort all comes down to pre-planning.
Whoever created the video graphics during the panels in the Corral deserves an Oscar. When we mentioned this to Alex, she told us that it’s actually just one guy, and since they only announced NPH one day before he arrived, he had to create them in record time. They were incredible, and just goes to show the impact that strong video graphics can do – Expo served some epic, on-point, video hype, and the crowd ate it up!
Congratulations to the Calgary Expo crew for organizing a spectacular event – not only on park – but across our city (they had a PARADE!). Calgary turns it out for four days, and we can’t wait to go back next year. What should we wear?!