Fans flock to Orillia’s CountryCon Cottage (8 photos)

“In a post-COVID world, it’s nice to see people coming back,” Cottage CountryCon attendee says; the event lasts until 5 p.m.

Comic book fans gather today at the Quality Inn and Conference Center for Cottage CountryCon.

The event features the “General Lee” vehicle of The Dukes of Hazard television series, comedians Linda Young and Elise Baughman of Dragon Ball Zand a cosplay costume contest.

The event’s biggest draw is its complement of 67 vendors, who traveled from as far away as Michigan, said event organizer Carmine De Santo.

“We actually sold more vendor space this time around,” he said. “People come from as far away as Montreal to Detroit.

De Santo says Cottage CountryCon is a great place for collectors and pop culture fans to find hidden gems.

“People are always on the lookout for stuff for their man and woman cave,” he said. “It’s a good place to look for gems and treasures.”

Cottage CountryCon is estimated to be on track to sell around 2,500 tickets for today’s event.

“I’m actually shocked at the turnout,” De Santo said. “Now that people are vaccinated and the restrictions are less restrictive, it’s been really good.”

He noticed that more fans are dressing up as their favorite superheroes and video game characters for this year’s event than ever before.

“It helps set the atmosphere,” he said. “I love seeing them come in. It’s a good community for cosplay.”

Cottage CountryCon will return in the fall, says De Santo, who is trying to determine a date for the event. He says it will once again be held at the Quality Inn and Conference Centre.

Rob Young brought his son, Austin, to his first comic-con on Saturday.

“I wanted to take him to a comic-con, and this one is good, smaller, to get him used to,” Young said. “Toronto’s is much bigger and busier.”

While other comics around the world are on a larger scale, Young says the Orillia event is still unique and special.

“Having this so close to home is really great. In fact, we just live on the street,” he said. “There’s a lot to see, a lot of toys for Austin, and they have a lot of comics for me.”

Young says he was surprised at how many people attended the local event.

“In a post-COVID world, it’s nice to see people coming back,” he said. “It’s also good to see people in disguise.”

Melissa Small and Fred Marlow were dressed as star wars villains for the event. They are part of the 501st Legion, a club dedicated to attending conventions around the world with screen precision. star wars villain costumes. Small traveled from Wyevale for the event, while Marlow is a resident of Orillia.

“It’s funny. I’ve been doing it for 40 years,” Small said. “We’re here for the kids.

The 501st Legion uses their cosplay to raise money for children’s charities such as the SickKids Foundation.

“I loved star wars since I was a kid,” Small said. “Using it to help children in need allows me to do more for others.”

Members of his family required the services of SickKids Hospital.

“It allows me to give back,” she says.

The event ends at 5 p.m. Tickets are still available. General admission is $20. Children under 11 enter for free.