IconiCon celebrates fantasy, gaming and anime 

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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Saturday was filled with fandom as anime, science fiction, and video game fans of all ages came out to the North Suffolk Library for Suffolk Public Library’s 8th annual IconiCon celebration.

From Super Mario to Star Wars, Pokemon, and more, the mini convention saw attendees celebrate famed and niche franchises alike with cosplay costume and fan art contests, music trivia, and even a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate gaming tournament. The event also showcased over 30 vendors with colorful merchandise as well as community organizations Stage Select Band, KPop757, ORCSLARP, and Ludosport Tidewater.

Xada Swain and John Schares of Ludosport Tidewater attended to showcase their 757 Light Saber Academy. After a quick duel demonstration, they talked about what brought them to the event, with Swain noting he learned of IconiCon from a friend.

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“So we just got connected, got to come out and represent ourselves, meet cool people, have fun, to make a great opportunity to just get out and show the community what we’re all about,” Swain said.

Their first IconiCon, Schares, says that they came out to the event after being recommended by SPL Library Services Coordinator Kelvin Ellis. 

“He invited us out here. He likes what we do,” Schares said. “He came out to our grand opening. He saw us, and he was like, ‘Hey come on out, I’d love to have you guys come out and demo…’ We’re really enjoying our time here. It’s a lot of fun.”

Laura Lesley, attending with her sister Miriam, says she’s been coming out to the convention for the past few years.

“It’s like a little mini-con and I love [to] come here every year,” Lesley said. “Especially because I don’t usually have the time or money to go to a really big con. So this is like a great little con experience for me to dress up and have fun and talk to people.”

Miriam agreed, noting that the event was a great way to celebrate her birthday.

“I figured, why not bring my friends to IconiCon, or at least one of them,” Miriam said. 

Grandparent Patricia Greene says that her son told her about the convention after receiving notification from the school system.

“And he sent it to me, and I’m in another city. I was excited to be here with the kids,” Greene said.

Fans of Doctor Who were also well represented at the event, as Richard Siebigteroth of Old Dominion Daleks and his family showed off a full-size Dalek replica. Operated from the inside, the replica got plenty of attention at the convention and got plenty of laughs from attendees.

“They’re my favorite monster and my wife and daughter kind of support it, ride around in it,” Siebigteroth said of the replica.

Reflecting back to 2013, when Disney’s film Frozen came out, Siebigteroth says he was thinking of a costume for his daughter. During a trip to Michaels, he and his wife found foam hemispheres.

“And I pulled it off the shelf, looked at it, put it on my daughter’s head and go ‘Do you want to be a Dalek?’ and my wife sings, ‘Do you want to be a Dalek and exterminate them all?’ And I went ‘great,’” he reflected humorously.

Siebigteroth says that in two weeks afterward, they built a 60 percent scale Dalek, featured in his friend Cheralyn Lambeth’s book, Creating the Character Costume: Tools, Tips, and Talks with Top Costumers and Cosplayers. On building the full-size scale, he said it was “trial and error,” with the final model being created from cat food boxes, styrofoam spheres, PVC pipes and Christmas ornaments, but Siebigteroth calls it a labor of love.

“This baby is about five years old now and it’s funny because you watch the Doctor Who episodes and you see the bumps on the stage props, the tv props, and go ‘I know how they did that! They ran into a chair on set, this is where they bumped into somebody,’” he said. “…It’s just fun.”

Ellis says that over 800 attended the convention following the event, “nearly doubling from last [year].” The event saw 50 submissions for the fan art contest, 30 for the cosplay contest, and 60 for the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament. Ellis thanked everyone who came out to the event.

“Our goal with this year’s IconiCon, as it’s always been, is to not only bring the community of Suffolk together, but the Hamptons Roads area and beyond,” Ellis said. “We wanted to show Suffolk Public Library’s commitment and care to the community by offering a memorable experience.”

Ellis believes that they achieved their goal with the help of everyone involved and the community’s support.

“So, from the bottom of our hearts here at Suffolk Public Library, Thank you for coming to IconiCon,” he said. “We’ll see you next year!”

For more information on Suffolk Public Library, go to suffolkpubliclibrary.com or facebook.com/SuffolkPublicLibrary.