The Niles-Maine District Library held their first-ever Fandom Fest on Saturday, August 19, 2017. By all measures, it was a spectacular success.
Over 700 people attended the event which featured local media personality Svengoolie who signed autographs and took pictures with children and adults for over two hours. The event also featured the 501st Midwest Garrison, a Star Wars Imperial costuming club of approximately 30 members who posed for photographs with attendees. Attendees were also able to participate in drawing workshops, table top gaming, an escape room, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia contest, cosplay contests, and other activities throughout the event which started at 11am and ended at 3pm.
The attendees of Fandom Fest were comprised of approximately 60% residents of the Library’s service area. The balance of attendees was mainly from communities surrounding the Library with some attendees from as far away as Wisconsin, Maryland, and New York. Feedback on the event was very positive including comments posted on the Library’s Facebook page.
Karen Dimond, Library Trustee and Board President said, “As a Trustee I am very proud to be able to bring an event like this to members of our community who may not have the resources to go to similar events in Chicago or San Diego.”
Similar events such as Wizard World coming up in Rosemont charge an entrance fee between $40 and $80 per day and have a lineup of entertainment personalities who charge between $20 and $120 for each autograph and each photograph. A family of four attending Wizard world on a Saturday would pay $280 in entrance fees alone. As is customary, the Library did not charge patrons a fee for this program.
Security and crowd and traffic control was provided by the Niles Police Department and VIPS (Volunteers in Police Service). VIPS had volunteers posted at each entrance to the Library parking lot to help control traffic. They also had volunteers posted at the key crosswalks on Waukegan Road and Oakton Street for the safety of the Library’s patrons.