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Science Fiction’s the Theme, but This Con’s For Real

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Even though the biggest convention of its kind on the East Coast, New York Comic Con, has come and gone, fans are still traveling to cons, sometimes even out of state. If you were hoping for one in your backyard, fear not! In a galaxy not so far, far away you’ll soon find a convention where you can indulge in science fiction aplenty.

From Dec. 1 to 3, Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park, will host the annual Wintercon. Attendees will have opportunities to show off their killer cosplays, get an autograph from one of their favorite celebrities and meet other fans of the sci-fi genre.

Promoter and Jackson Heights native Frank Patz has been a fan of sci-fi conventions for a long time, ever since he first attended one when he was younger.

“When I was a kid, a friend of mine took me to a convention in Manhattan. Ever since I went, I’ve loved them,” he said.

Having a convention in Queens is important to Patz. He said he believes the borough doesn’t get a lot of opportunities to have a con like Manhattan does.

“I love Queens and I wanted to do a show there. Queens deserves some kind of show like this,” he said.

There is something missing from a lot of cons today, Patz added: a lack of focus on the sci-fi genre. He said he wanted Wintercon to be a more sci-fi-oriented event.

“There are so many different conventions that are ‘comic-con’ now, but they don’t have a good sci-fi convention like they used to,” he said. “It’s a strictly sci-fi convention. There’s so many different conventions and they are like cookie-cutter conventions. They’re kind of all the same. At Wintercon we wanted to do something different.”

This year’s Wintercon promises to be bigger and better than in previous years. The main event attraction is the reunion of five of the actors from the classic Ridley Scott sci-fi film “Blade Runner.” Rutger Hauer, Joanna Cassidy, Sean Young, William Sanderson and Kevin Thompson will be on hand signing autographs and doing a Q-and-A. “Blade Runner” is also Patz’s favorite film.

“We’ve been wanting to do a ‘Blade Runner’ for a while,” he said, adding that it’s a “happy coincidence” this reunion is happening a few months after the release of the sequel “Blade Runner 2049.”

Also featured will be a reunion of the cast from the sci-fi television classic “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.” Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Thom Christopher, Felix Silla and Barbara Luna will be on hand to meet and greet fans in a rare appearance of all of them together.

“This is one of the first times they are all together. It’s a special thing. A lot of people love that show,” Patz said.

It wouldn’t be a con without a costume contest, and Wintercon has one of the more popular ones. “We have one of the biggest costume contests in the area,” Patz said. “Every year the word started spreading how Wintercon was always cosplay-friendly.” Prizes will be given to the winners and there will a children’s contest as well, where everyone gets a prize.

Young “Star Wars” fans will also have the opportunity to learn how to wield a lightsaber from trained Jedi masters. The Empire Saber Guild, a Lucasfilm-approved lightsaber group, will be on hand to give lessons to young padawans. They will also get a free lightsaber so they can continue mastering the Jedi arts.

With the all events and opportunities at Wintercon, Patz said the important thing for con-goers is to have fun.

“I hope they have fun. I hope they come and have a fun time.”

Source: Queens Chronicle