The ultimate geek fest returns to PE bigger and better

BY CHARL BOSCH - JUNE 15, 2016

What started out as an idea by two high schools friends in 2014 to host a convention in Port Elizabeth based on loved for cosplaying, steadily developed into a “must-attend event” for fans of popular culture and gaming.

After attracting an estimated 700 people last year, a 500% increase over the 150 who attended the inaugural event, the 2016 edition of the Con.ect Convention is set to become one of the Bay’s biggest events when the doors of the Vodacom Indoor Sport Centre at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) swing open on 30 and 31 July.

With Con.ect expected to attract over 1000 game, television, movie and technology aficionados this year, RNEWS recently sat down with event co-organiser and NMMU academic Janelle Vermaak, to get the details behind the event’s rapidly rising popularity and the attractions line-up.

“Con.ect 2015 turned out to be highly successful… before we even started selling tickets for this year’s event, people were already asking us where they could buy tickets,” Vermaak said.

“At the moment, we have about 30 stalls, with four companies confirmed from out of town, who will bring items you are unlikely to get in Port Elizabeth. We will have, amongst others, a cosplay masquerade and competition, exhibitions hosted by the NMMU First Lego League and NMMU Racing, board games, a cake raffle, a Pokémon tournament and a Hearthstone Fireside Gathering.  There will also be computer, PlayStation and Xbox games and tournaments run by Computer Empire”.

“There is going to be something for everyone. It really is going to be an awesome experience. There is nothing similar to Con.ect in the Eastern Cape”.

A self-confessed movie fan currently finishing her PhD with the impact of fans and fandom as her topic, Vermaak said her involvement stems from visiting the London Film and Comic-con Festival last year, and realising the effect a similar event could have for Port Elizabeth.

“One of the major aspects of fandom is visiting conventions and after returning [from London], I saw the potential for Port Elizabeth to grow Con.ect into something that is very popular in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  I believe that we could do something just as good,” Vermaak said.

“We want to give the audience in Port Elizabeth a small taste of what an international conventional is like. Con.ect is an event unique to Port Elizabeth, a convention for people who are fans of popular culture and who are not embarrassed to show their love for their fandoms”.

Con.ect would like to thank the following sponsors, because without them, this event would not be possible: Baywest Mall, Ster-Kinekor Theatres, Exclusive Printing & Branding, Computer Empire, AWX (AnimeWorX), Arcane Ingenuity, Yo Media Marketing, NMMU, Brave Ideas, Exclusive Books, Cake Serendipity, The Dark Carnival, Roxanne's Cosplay Distributions and Project Mayhem.

Tickets are available at Webtickets, https://www.webticket.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=1463695184, and more information can be found on Con.ect’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Con.ectPortElizabethGeekConvention/ and website http://con-ect.co.za/