The city of Vacaville will look a little bit more like the fictional burgs of Metropolis or Gotham City Saturday as “Vaca-Con” takes place. The event is expected to attract a legion of dedicated local fans for the celebration of comics, anime, science fiction, pop culture and more.
Dozens of artists and exhibitors are slated to be on hand sharing their creations, while a host of vendors will be offering a wide variety of collectibles, comic books, costumes and other treasures for sale.
Many Cosplayers, or fans dressing up in costumes like their favorite characters, will likely be on hand and add to the sense of wonder and jubilation that comic-related conventions often have.
This weekend’s fete is technically the 4th annual such gathering, but it’s the first to take place since March of 2020 due to the pandemic.
“This event has been a community favorite, and we are so excited to bring it back in person this year,” said Breah Haddon, Recreation Coordinator for the city of Vacaville.
“Vaca-Con is a family-friendly event, and we highly encourage kids of all ages to come check out the Kid Zone area, game stations, cosplay contest and much more. Exhibitors, artists and cosplayers are only allowed to display family-friendly material, so everyone can get together and share their love of (this fandom),” Haddon said.
One of the artists who will be on hand on Saturday is Aaron Roberts, who has lived in Solano County most of his life and is glad to have such an event take place right at home, without having to travel to a distant destination.
“My favorite thing about the show is getting to meet other fans, chatting about our favorite fandoms, and seeing the smiles on their faces when they pick up a piece of art or merch that they love,” said Roberts.
Discovering comics and anime when he was 12 years old, Roberts said he’s mainly self-taught, and began taking his art more seriously about 14 years ago. Since then, he has become a freelance artist, illustrator and designer. In fact, in 2020 he was even approached by Upper Deck — one of the world’s biggest trading and collectible card makers — to draw some sketches for a Marvel anime line of cards.
“I developed my styles by studying my favorite artists from across comics, video games, and animation. I’ve got several styles I can tap into ranging from a very open line style similar to animation to something a little more ink heavy like an American comic,” Roberts said. “I really enjoy experimenting and by mixing them to varying degrees as I’m a big fan of the hybrid style overall.”
Roberts will have prints, stickers, and some original art up for sale at the show, along with his first enamel pin.
“I also do commissions at shows, but I try to keep it to something small like a head or bust piece because I’m usually working the table on my own and anything larger hampers my ability to interact with people,” said Roberts, pointing to a recurring theme of artists really loving to connect with fans at events such as Vaca-Con.
In addition to artists and vendors, convention goers can listen to panelists speaking on a variety of topics, including cosplay prop building, cosplaying on TikTok, tattooing and pop culture, and a panel of Star Wars characters, including C. Andrew Nelson and Alan Fernandez , who have portrayed Darth Vader and a Tusken Raider in various films and shows in the beloved franchise.
New for this year’s event, according to Haddon, is a cosplay costume parade beginning at 2 pm on the community center campus and ending at the Vacaville Performing Arts Theater. There, a costume contest, including seven different categories and prizes, will take place with members of the Vacaville City Council serving as guest judges.
“We always want to create exceptional experiences for the Vacaville community,” Haddon said. “We are so excited to see everyone again.”