Contributed by Tim Lasiuta
Photos by Jeremy Rinas and Geoffrey Lasiuta
With a near sellout crowd at the Big 4 and BMO Building at the Calgary Stampede grounds, the 2023 Calgary Expo edition left everyone satisfied.
Kicking off with a Parade of Wonders led by Calgary Major Gondek dressed as Edward Scissorhands, celebrities from Kids in the Hall, Robert Patrick, Lou Ferrigno, and other franchises led costume clad participants along downtown Calgary streets lined by 10,000 fans.
Running on April 27-30, 2023, the show included celebrity guests Hayden Christensen, James McAvoy, Lana Parrilla, Andy Serkis, and Sam Raimi. Artists Alley hosted Scott Hanna, Tom Grummett, Carl Potts, and Arthur Adams in addition to local favorites Nat Jones, John Gallagher, Sheldon Beuckert, and John Ware biography artist Hugh Rockwood.
With construction at the Stampede grounds, panels and presentations were split with special events held in the BMO centre. Christensen thrilled Star Wars fans while the Kids in the Hall cast entertained the crowds.
One of the most talked about panels was the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, presented by Morgan Knudsen who presented compelling information on Sasquatch, werewolves (apparently spotted in Alberta), and hobbits.
This year, improv was popular with two presentations that included Lego and some farcical antics enjoyed by a good crowd who seemed ready for more off-the-cuff humor.
Artists and some retailers filled out the Big Four, and there were three rooms of vendors. Part of the layout included a Kid Zone with giant blocks, games, face painting, and artists sketching for kids.
Mixed in with the booths was eBay, offering discounts and a comic book grading service doing on the spot evaluations. For collectors, the opportunity to have items certified on the spot was very welcome and appreciated.
Fan Expo, which runs the Calgary Expo, will return to Canada on August 24-27 in Toronto and on September 15-17 for their Edmonton show.
The 2023 show was a sellout for Fan Expo and from all indications, the full season will be successful at every stop.