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Shocka-Con brings the scare to South Charleston

Courtesy photo
Once local photographer/artist Mike Winland decided to start the horror/sci-fi convention Shocka-Con, he found plenty of like-minded folks to help him. The convention runs all day Saturday in downtown South Charleston.

WANT TO GO?

Shocka-Con

WHERE: Around the mound, South Charleston

WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

TICKETS: Free

INFO: 304-345-3674 or www.wvshockacon.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Mike Winland has a message for science fiction and horror fans who come to this weekend's Shocka-Con around the Mound in South Charleston: you ain't see nothing yet.

The organizer and visionary behind the sci-fi/horror convention said, "We were going to go for the traditional three-day, celebrity-filled convention, but we just didn't have time to pull it off."

There's always next year.

This year, Winland said, expect a small but intense one day event with a lot of local flavor and favorites including a showing of filmmaker Eamon Hardiman's "Porkchop 3D," Transylvanian pogo punk by The Renfields and a sampling of area writers, artists, actors and others who work in the realm of the spooky and weird.

The Cemetery Knights will have their hearses, and there'll be some Imperial Stormtroopers. Vendors will be selling gory gear, geek stuff and costumes, and the convention will host a haunted barn.

"We also got the Monster Dolls coming in," Winland said. "And that's pretty cool just by itself."

The Monster Dolls are a horror-based tribal/belly dance troupe from Ohio that performs in masks and fright makeup.

Winland, a local photographer/artist, said the idea of a sci-fi/horror convention in Charleston isn't exactly new. Years ago, he said, the city hosted a Star Trek convention, but it struggled to keep going and eventually disappeared.

"But I know the interest is here," he said. "I've talked to people and, like me, they love this stuff. They just don't know what one of these conventions even looks like."

Last spring, Winland started looking for like-minded folks who could help plan and support the event. It didn't take long to find them.

"But we really didn't get started until April, and putting it all together with the venue and the guests, it just didn't make sense to go three days."

Still, they've managed to cram quite a bit of stuff into a single day: concerts, movies, a parade.

"We're going for mostly family-friendly," Winland said. "And most of it is. It's supposed to be fun."

Winland said they've had a lot of help. The city of South Charleston, he noted, has been very supportive and gracious in allowing them to set up around the Mound.

"We're going to be showing movies at the Labelle Theater all day, and the library is helping out with letting us have space for makeup workshops and a lecture on zombie preparedness."

Winland said his expectations for Shocka-Con are modest, which is why admission to most of the convention is free. Aside from the vendors charging for their wares, there's a suggested $5 donation to watch the films and some guests will require a fee for autographs. Otherwise, Winland said, they're keeping things cost free as much as they can -- if only to see what works.

"I think we'll see at least 300 people. I wouldn't be surprised at a thousand."

Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.


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