Coming to Williams Lake for the first time ever this year is the Cariboo Hobby Con hosted by Lake City Secondary Columneetza Campus.
Cariboo Hobby Con is a brand new craft fair comic-con hybrid happening on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Dec. 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an admission charge of $2 or by donation, with all proceeds going to the Junior Girl’s Volleyball Team.
Masterminded by gym teacher Tim Hurley, the Cariboo Hobby Con is modelled after the world famous San Diego Comic-Con International. Hurley describes himself as always having been “all over the place” when it comes to collecting memorabilia and is not ashamed to say he owns a small collection of Star Wars and He-Man toys from the 80s.
“I came up with an idea when I learned about Comic-Con, I guess, 10 years ago now. I thought it’d be pretty cool to do something in Williams Lake to that regard,” Hurley said. “When I was a little guy growing up they used to have these convention shows for hockey cards, sports cards in general, and they were huge. That’s when collecting was on the rise, in the early 1990s, and then it just sort of fizzled away. In Williams Lake, there are no events like (the one I’m planning) anymore.”
When he learned that Prince George hosts its own Northern Fancon, Hurley reached out to its organizer for tips on organizing his own Cariboo Comic-con. However, Hurly said he didn’t want to limit the event to comics and decided to remove the word comic in favour of hobby, focusing the attention on things that people are passionate about.
“That’s the operative word here: passion. If you’re passionate about something it could be the promotion of a sports club, if you make something, like crafts or pottery, things that you might sell, that’s family run and local,” Hurley said. “I wanted to have it be like a crazy overall idea where anything goes.”
In addition to lakecity locals, Hurley is also reaching out to local businesses like Adventure Games who will be setting up board games that people can try out for themselves. Hurley thinks that these types of games that involve strategy, communication and doing things with your hands are good for kids and is happy to help promote them.
He’s reached out to a variety of sports teams and organizations as well, including the Blockstars and Caribruisers of the junior roller derby, the Williams Lake Bluefins and a variety of others, to set up booths.
Hurley also plans to have space set aside for kids to set up displays of their own collections of toys, with prizes available for the best collections.
“They can have Playmobil, Lego, or a Star Wars diorama if they want to set it up. If they’re into model trains, bring that in, if you collect coins, bring that in,” Hurley listed.
His goal most of all with Hobby Con is to bring people in and get them connected with one another. To that effect, he charged only $25 a table and chose not to charge groups that took up more than one table a higher price.
With roughly 30 to 35 tables sold to various groups, Hurley said that they won’t be lacking for entertainment during the event; with the Cariboo Mens Choir, his daughter’s ukulele circle led by LeRae Haynes and a local band all slated to perform, with an open-mic available in between sessions. Despite the proximity to the holidays, Hurley said any musicians looking to perform do not need to play exclusively Christmas tunes.
“We want to open up the doors for the entire community to show up together, I think this one is a nice starting point (for us) because (something like) the Medieval Market is more high-end vendors, ours is going to be more of a mixed bag of everything. I’m really excited for people to come and see what it’s all about,” Hurley said. “Please come down and enjoy it.”
Hurley’s plans and expectations for the event is that it will be popular enough for him to make it an annual fundraiser for the school.
“You know, the very first Comic-Con ever, in San Diego in the 1970s, drew a 100 people in a big city like San Diego. I said to the craftspeople coming, you know what if we get 50 people walking through the door, that’s 50 people who came to our first one,” Hurley said. “I’m really excited about it, I’m really passionate about it, I really want to get it out to be a family affair and involve the kids as much as possible. If you have a passion come out.”