May 30—CORBIN — Over 1,000 people of all ages gathered at the Corbin Civic Center Saturday to take part in May's Corbin Con.
The event, previously known as Southeastern Kentucky Card and Toy Expo, began in September of 2021 with 500 in attendance and was focused mainly on Hot Wheels and Funko Pops in addition to vintage toys and collectibles.
As word got out, the event began getting a variety of vendors.
It then grew to sports cards; trading cards like Pokémon, Yu-gi-oh and Magic the Gathering; and comic books.
Now they have LARPers (live action role players), artists and anime products like manga.
One vendor was selling homemade playable instruments inspired from and decorated with comics.
Tonya Wood and Liz Guillermo are both part of the team working to make this event possible.
"We wanted to give the people and children of Corbin something fun to do," Wood said. "You can attend concerts or watch sports here locally but something like this event we have organized, you typically have to travel around two hours to experience something like this."
The idea of this event was sparked by a thought from Wood's sister-in-law Barbara Ridener. Wood and her husband Jason fostered it while getting more people on board.
Guillermo was inspired to help organize the Corbin Con due to her having a child who didn't have anything to do locally that was hobby-related.
"My son participates in sports as well but when we started this event, he enjoyed it so much he has gotten really into the event," Guillermo said. "It's worked out really well."
The May event provided a new opportunity for the community to get involved with a cosplay contest. The contest allows participants to dress up as a character and be judged on the costume.
Some 35 people participated in the costume contest with characters from Pokémon, Disney, Marvel, WWE, Scream and tons of anime characters.
Wood said they had an honorable mention of "Kermit the Frog" as Spiderman.
"That kid was so proud of himself," Wood said. "Everyone had so much fun."
The first cosplay contest at Corbin Con was won by Steven Damron with his impressive impersonation of Predator, the main character from the movie series Predator that started in 1987.
According to Wood, Damron's costume was imported from Spain and included sound effects.
Second place was awarded to Lillie Burns cosplaying Wednesday Addams from the 1960s sitcom the Addams Family.
Burns father 3D-printed the hand for the headpiece of her costume.
"It's so neat to see people of all walks of life at these events coming together for a common love." Guillermo said. "This is a place people can freely be the nerdy people they are. This event is open for everyone."
Guillermo and Wood wants to foster the love for this type of culture in kids and create a space for the entire family to enjoy that common love and go home with some awesome new things.
"Who knows what the next thing to be offered at Corbin Con will be," Wood stated.
The organizing team of Corbin Con is already thinking up some new exciting things for the next event with talk of a video game competition and an activity booth for younger children.
The Corbin Con happens four times a year. The next scheduled Corbin Con is August 19 at the Corbin Civic Center.
Wood and Guillermo is expecting to outgrow the space soon but mentioned how thankful they are to be able to use the local space and have much support from Parks and Rec.
If you are interested in vending you can message them on Facebook at Next Realm Events.
"The vendor spots sell out quickly," Wood added.
Bring out your inner child and check out the next Corbin Con in August.
"It's an event for the entire family," Wood said.