Shockacon – It ain’t just a 70’s funk diva
South Charleston – Ever since Janet Leigh met an untimely end to her shower in “Psycho” and Robbie the Robot appeared in “Forbidden Planet,” people have long been fascinated with the themes of horror and science fiction. Add gaming and fantasy to the mix, and you have thousands of fans who enthusiastically embrace an opportunity to join with like-minded fans.
On Sept. 29, West Virginia will tap into this market, scaring up economic benefits as it hosts a one-day festival, ShockaCon (www.wvshockacon.com).
This free, family-friendly event is in development as vendors, workshop practitioners, authors, movie producers, actors and exhibitors come on board. It is a prequel event designed to introduce the concept to the West Virginia market, which will include elements of horror, science fiction, gaming and comics, and will offer participants opportunities to purchase items, mingle with other fans, learn new skills, and enjoy a variety of activities. ShockaCon will include concerts at the Mound, movies at the LaBelle Theater, a gaming tent, the Cemetery Knights car club and their hearses, skits by The Kanawha Players and a Monster Parade down D Street. The event will be held at and around The Mound in South Charleston.
“There are hundreds of West Virginians who travel to these events that are held all over the country”, explained Mike Winland, Electric Chairman of ShockaCon. “We felt that this was something that would be welcome here – and so far, has been very enthusiastically received. We have gotten very positive response. Many potential vendors from around the country are interested, largely due to the fact that West Virginia is, as yet, an untapped market. We see this one day event as a preview to our larger, three-day Con next year.”
Zombies Mean Business
“Zombies may be the walking undead, but their contribution to Main Street’s economy is very much alive. In modern times, the zombie genre has evolved from a cult following to a highly popular theme.”
It is estimated that the zombie genre economy is worth billions of dollars. Zombie related conventions, events and walks are estimated to be undervalued at $10 million. (source: www.msnbc.com)
Even the government has taken note of this phenomenon. In 2011, the CDC launched its “Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Kit” campaign, to promote awareness for disaster preparation. (source: www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm)
According to the National Retail Federation-which annually conducts the amusingly named Halloween Consumer Intentions/Actions Survey-Halloween is big business. According to the NRF, consumers are going to spend about $6.8 billion on Halloween this year. That’s an average of $72.32 per American, with that breaking down to $26.52 for costumes, $21.05 for candy, $19.79 for house decorations and $4.96 on greeting cards. In total, 161 million Americans expect to celebrate Halloween. (source: www.bizengine.com/spooky-statistics-for-small-businesses-this-halloween/).
Hauntworld.com estimates that Americans spend between $300 and $500 million each year on haunted house tickets – or around 8 percent of that $5 billion total. Since the average admission price is about $15, that figure translates to more than 3 million customers looking for a decent scare. Those sales are spread out among more than 1,200 commercial haunted attractions, about 3,000 charitable ones and 300 amusement parks with seasonal haunted attraction events (source: Hauntworld.com).
Obviously, bigger venues and more established cons bring in more people. However, as an example of how popular sci-fi/monster conventions are, here are attendance numbers for some of the others:
Horrorhound Weekend Cincinnati, Ohio: 6,000
Fandom Fest Louisville, Kentucky: 12,000
GenCon Indianapolis, Indiana: 36,000
And to show how these conventions grow, in 2002, Phoenix held its Comicon and attracted 432 attendees. In 2012, that number has grown to 32,127.
ShockaCon 2012 is being brought to West Virginia by a group of professionals all long term business owners in the area. Brought together by a desire to bring something unique and fun to West Virginia, the ShockaCon Board offers a wealth of talent and experience. This piece was provided by Mike Winland.