In a discussion of the upcoming Washington State Toy and Geek Fest, it’s hard to know just where to begin. This mashup of a comic book convention, toy show, and carnival fun house looks like it’s going to be gargantuan and packed to the brim with amazing things and fantastic artifacts. The organizers call it “the absolutely can’t miss event of the summer where we take a comic con and add toys, amazing vehicles, and tons of exhibits and fun for the whole family.”
Running the weekend of Saturday, June 30 through Sunday, July 1, the Washington State Toy and Geek Fest will be a celebration of science fiction and fantasy worlds and characters that energize so much of our media and popular culture. In comic books, games, television shows and movies, we find the brilliant stuff of imaginary legends that, for many, have become the mythos of contemporary life. Immersion in those worlds has the power to feed vitality into our ordinary reality, giving everything a sheen of the extraordinary.
In celebration of the bedazzling quality that imaginative storytellers bring into our lives, the Washington State Toy and Geek Fest will feature more than 350 vendor, industry, and exhibitor booths; an area exceeding 140,000 square feet; authors, artists and publishers in the comic genre; gaming and technology developers; celebrity appearances, autographs and photos; a main performance stage and four panel rooms; immersive video game experiences; more than 50 interactive displays and photo opportunities; movie memorabilia, props, replicas and vehicles; fair food vendors including Fisher Scones; interactive play areas for kids; a themed beer garden; numerous gaming tournaments; individual and team trivia contests; cosplay contests, meetups, instruction and repair stations; a package and bag check for shoppers; Toy and Geek Fest exclusives and keepsakes and much more.
Celebrity guests include the likes of Keith Allen, who plays Murphy, the half-human/half-zombie character central to the television series “Z Nation.” Some of the other cast members will also be on hand, like the lovely Anastasia Baranova, who plays Addy, the zombie killer with the spiked baseball bat that she wields like a war club. There will also be some of the cast members from the televised drama “Descendants 2,” which follows the adventures of the children of some of the villains of Disney movies. These include China Anne McClain (Uma, daughter of Ursula of “Little Mermaid” infamy) and Booboo Stewart, who starred in the Twilight saga and X-Men as well as “Descendants 2.”
A special guest of interest to “Star Wars” fans is Peter Mayhew, the seven-foot, three-inch tall actor that played Chewbacca. There will be voice actors from Dragon Ball and Pokeman and special effects and character artists. Kevin Sussman, who plays Stuart Bloom, the depressed comic book dealer on the hit show “The Big Bang Theory,” will also be on hand. All of the celebrities will have scheduled times for signing autographs and posing for pictures.
For fans of “Star Wars,” there is a panoply of events and exhibits. You can see a full-sized replica of Han Solo frozen in the slab of carbonite; pose for pictures with the Ewoks on a set that replicates the forest moon of Endor; visit Roxy the Rancor (all 17 feet of the beast), who was featured in “Return of the Jedi” and view a replica of Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder. Lemmy the Luggabeast (from “The Force Awakens”) will be there. You can pose for a picture in a replica of the Millennium Falcon’s on-board lounge. You can also put on a helmet and a jumpsuit and get your picture taken in a mock-up of the cockpit of an X-wing fighter.
Groups like the R2-D2 Builder’s Club will show off their full-sized models of the plucky droid, all made of Lego. Members of the Rebel Legion Alpha Base will be on hand, dressed up to oppose the galactic empire. Members of the Jet City Temple, the Washington chapter of the Saber Guild International will be on hand to show off and teach their light saber skills.
The Toy and Geek Fest includes celebrity guests of the four-wheeled variety in addition to the two-legged type. Festivalgoers can commune with semi-truck versions of some of the Transformers: Optimus Prime, Onslaught and Galvatron. You can see a replica of the 1966 Bat Mobile, cars from the original version of “The Road Warrior,” the DeLorean time machine from “Back to the Future” and the 1937 Mercedes Benz that was used in “Raiders of the Last Ark.”
The “Toy Panel” stage will be busy with toy collecting experts like Gus Lopez, a Star Wars toy and memorabilia collector and writer who created the Star Wars Collectors Archive. Other toy collecting authors and stars of toy collecting shows like “Toy Hunter” will be on hand to give talks and to share their expertise.
Among the artists that will be at the festival, there is Jim Steranko, who did some of the early, preproduction conceptual images of Indiana Jones. A number of comic book artists like Steve Geiger, Matt Haley, David Williams and Rich Werner will be on hand.
The Toy and Geek Fest will have a game playing area where there will be tournaments for games like “Magic, The Gathering.” Guests can learn to play the games and experienced players can enter the tournaments.
Festivalgoers are encouraged to come to the event dressed as their favorite character. There will be cosplay contests for both children and adults. There will also be a cosplay first aid station where people can make quick repairs to their costumes. The event is so large that cosplay “medics” will walk the grounds to help out with costume repairs on the spot.
This vast celebration of all things geeky includes bounce houses for the kids and a huge, post-apocalyptic laser tag arena for older guests. In the community collections area, people will be able to show off their own collections of toys, comics and memorabilia.
This brief discussion is just a thumbnail sketch of all the special guests, exhibits and events that are included at this mega celebration of science fiction and fantasy. This thing could be as big as a Death Star and as magical as Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir.
The Washington Toy and Geek Fest takes place at Washington State Fair Events Center, Showplex and Conference Center. Enter through the blue gate. Parking is free. The fest is on Saturday, June 30, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a complete listing, ticket information and details visit toyandgeekfest.com.