After nearly 20 months of canceling, rescheduling and reimagining, the organizers of the Bangor Comic & Toy Con will finally hold their thrice-delayed convention this weekend at what five years ago would have seemed a highly unusual location: the Bangor Mall.
Bangor Comic & Toy Con was held in previous years at the Cross Insurance Center. But as the pandemic forced them to not only move the dates but also contend with how to keep attendees safe, organizers Will Hesketh and Jay Cochran turned instead to the mall as a new option — one that gave them far more freedom to put together a fun, unique and safe event.
This year’s convention will be held in the wing of the mall that used to house the Sears department store, as well as the center atrium, and will take over a number of empty storefronts for the vendors, photo ops, comic artists, gaming and special guests.
“The big thing that this allows us to do is to not have everybody clustered together in one room. It’ll be spread out among multiple storefronts and kiosks, so people can stay way more socially distant,” Hesketh said. “It just gives us so much more freedom to do what we want, and really make it all our own.”
The special guests at the upcoming convention have changed many times over the past two years, as the dates moved from April 2020 to October 2020, and then from October 2020 to April 2021, and finally to Oct. 1-3, 2021. But there’s a small group of guests that have stuck with the convention all this time: professional wrestler Mick Foley, voice artist Dana Snyder (Master Shake on “Aqua Teen Hunger Force”), actress Judith Hoag (April O’Neil in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie”) and three of the main cast members from the cult classic “Clerks”: Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran and Jeff Anderson.
Also appearing will be Sherilyn Fenn, whom David Lynch lovers will know as Audrey Horne from “Twin Peaks”; Bill Moseley, who has been seen in a number of Rob Zombie movies; and Noah Hathaway, who played Atreyu in “The Neverending Story.”
Cochran said another bonus about being at the mall is that they can bring exposure to mall businesses that have seen a significant downturn in business due to the pandemic and national retailers shutting down.
G-Force Adventures, which moved into the mall in early 2021 and has been undergoing extensive renovations since then, will open a few of its attractions for a sneak preview, including the bar and restaurant and the axe-throwing lanes. Panels featuring the guests will be held at Some Theatre Company’s space next to Furniture Mattress & More.
“We’re creating a cool little neighborhood for the weekend, and bringing in a whole bunch of people who wouldn’t otherwise be at the mall,” Cochran said.
There will also be food trucks, and Orono Brewing Company has brewed a special beer for the weekend dubbed “Snoochy Brewski”, in honor of the catchphrase from “Clerks.” There’s also a Friday night kickoff party set for Seasons Restaurant in downtown Bangor, featuring a screening of “The Neverending Story” with Hathaway in attendance.
A full list of events set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the convention can be found online at bangorcomicandtoycon.com. A full weekend pass is $40, while family and single-day passes are also available.