Whether you fancy Ghost Busters, replicas of well-known vehicles like the bat mobile, or dressing up like Superwoman, Dover Comic Con promises to fulfill all your needs and wants.
Dover Comic Con will take place in Dover, Del. on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.
The annual event, stemmed from the need to help promote the Dover Public Library’s graphic novel collection and provide a program for teens. Katy Goff, teen librarian, and Kerri Hollyday, teen librarian assistant, helped kick start the idea in 2013, with the help of Catherine Wimberley and Nicholas Coll, also known as the ‘Core Four.’
Goff and Hollyday worked with many teens who had never been to an event like comic con. After attending various comic cons themselves, the dynamic duo figured they would bring the fun to their own library. Goff and Hollyday pitched the idea to the director of the library and instantly received approval.
“That was the catalyst and it kind of just snowballed,” Goff says.
The first ever Dover Comic Con took place at the close of the library’s summer reading program, attracting teens, families and adults. In its first year, the organizers hoped for 500 people and 2,500 showed up. Now in year three, Dover Comic Con attracts more than 7,000 attendees of all ages.
Harry Simon, comic con fan, has been to Dover’s convention the past two years, as well as the Philadelphia Comic-Con several times. He says he’s most looking forward to seeing all the cosplayers and costumes at this years event.
“I picked Dover because it’s local, but also because I love watching this convention grow and seeing the new events they add every year,” Simon says. “I also really like how local businesses get involved, like The Schwartz Center [for the Arts] and the Biggs Museum [of American Art]. It has a real sense of community behind it.”
The Dover Public Library has partnered with various community groups to grow and improve the event, offering a unique, festival feel. Partners of the library include Dover Art League, First State Heritage Park, Biggs Museum, Schwartz Center and more. Although the event has grown astronomically, the organizers admit it has become easier to run.
“The first time we reached out to artists to come we were like ‘Would you take a chance, come to this, even though we may only have five people show up?” Hollyday says. “They are still coming back three years later.”
Not only have the sponsors helped to expand the event, the Core Four looks at trends in other library services and speaks with other libraries for pointers. What started on a small scale, turned big scale, still remains as organic as it was in its inception.
“The artists and authors are really our biggest supporters,” Goff says. “A lot of success we give to the exhibitors because without them we wouldn’t have it.”
This year, Sharon Alger Little, comic con fan, is looking forward to not only seeing the vendors, but also checking out the costumes. She says although Dover Comic Con is free, it offers high quality entertainment and interaction.
“Every Con has their own personality and charm,” Little says. “For this one it was being outside and going to different parts of downtown instead of being in a convention center.”
Dover Comic Con is a free event and accepts everybody and anything. The group gets visitors from Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas and North Carolina. Organizers says it really comes down to what you are passionate about, claiming the crowds are open and accepting.
This years event will kick off Friday night at 5:30 with a Ghostbusters screening, block party, outdoor concert Lockerman Plaza and lastly a movie at The Shwartz Center (requires a reservation). In addition to the events mentioned above, Kent County Tourism has provided the group with fireworks. Stop by for your chance to see Dover Mayor, Robin R. Christiansen, judging the children’s costumes this year.
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