First ever FanFest slated for Ponoka

Canadian sci-fi actor to be guest speaker at library club’s festival

If you have an interest in comics, anime or science fiction, then reserve June 1 for some excitement.

The Ponoka Jubilee library, in conjunction with it’s Amine and Manga club, are hosting the community’s first ever FanFest at the library in the Civic Centre.

Running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the event will feature a gaming room, panel debates and presentations plus a unique market with goods ranging from work by local artists as well as buy and trade tables.

The idea spawned last October when the library made the move to its new location, with club members who volunteered to help working on ideas to expand the club’s experiences.

“The club began in the spring of 2018 and has grown into one of our library’s most popular clubs,” explained library clerk Cynthia Bottomley.

“It is one of the few groups in our region that provides a weekly get together for local anime, manga, comic book and sci-fi enthusiasts. We are always looking for ways to create new activities and the creation of a local convention where our members can share their passion for these unique genres of art and stories grabbed our imaginations.”

And the first ever FanFest has grabbed a big name Canadian sci-fi actor as its guest speaker. Eric Breker, whose credits include the 2014 film Godzilla and television series The X-Files and Stargate: SG1, will lead a question and answer session about his roles then taking part in a meet and greet session.

“He contacted the club about appearing after learning about the convention online,” added Bottomley.

“We are very excited to host Mr. Breker. His appearance emphasizes that Fanfest, though run by the library’s Anime and Manga Club, wants to embrace the numerous worlds of science fiction, gaming, and fantasy in a community friendly event.”

Breker is waiving any appearance fee, as the club membership was able to fundraise enough to pay for his travel from his home in B.C.

The other panels are on a drop-in basis and will discuss a range of topics — from what is anime to which character would triumph in a fight.

“It’s a great way to explore the creativity and passion many people have toward these mediums,” Bottomley added.

Meanwhile, an all-day computer zone will be set up for people to try out some popular online games and there will be a cosplay contest plus an after-hours screening of Studio Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart.

Bottomley emphasized that space for Breker’s session is limited to 50 people, so those interested are urged to arrive early.

And while FanFest is free, a ticket will be required for entry and can be had by going online through Eventbrite.ca (https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ponoka-jubilee-library-fanfest-tickets-59842503539/amp). Any tickets not claimed before the event will be made available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

She added that the free table spaces for the market is also limited and booking should be done as soon as possible. The library is also looking for some volunteers to help with set up and admission as well as for prize donations for the cosplay contest.

To book a table, volunteer or to find out more information, email Bottomley at cbottomley@prl.ab.ca. A schedule of the day’s events is available by going to ponokalibrary.prl.ab.ca and searching under events.

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