On Saturday, Sept. 16, Eagle Con Jr. took place in the Chandler Ballroom to raise awareness for Eagle Con, which will be held on Feb. 10, 2024 at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds. The event hosted over 20 vendors and two special guests.
“The idea for Eagle Con Jr. came from Fairfax Comic Con, which is traditionally a two day comic con taking place at the Dulles Expo center in late summer. But this past March, they held an event called Fairfax Comic Con Jr. It was a smaller event that was about half the size and cheaper than their larger event,” said Sky Shane, a junior communication and digital studies major and head showrunner of Eagle Con Jr.
The first Eagle Con occurred last year on Feb. 23 and attracted over 300 attendees, The Weekly Ringer reported. “After the first Eagle Con, we quickly learned we have outgrown campus,” said Shane. “I figured a smaller event in the fall semester would be a great way to advertise and get people excited for our bigger show in February!”
Some students heard about Eagle Con Jr. and were excited to attend because of last year’s success.
“I attended Eagle Con Jr. because I heard how great last year’s Eagles Con was. I wasn’t able to go to the main one this past spring, but Eagle Con Jr. seemed like it would be a lot of fun, and I knew some of the volunteers too,” said Blake Bauer, a sophomore historic preservation major.
There were many vendors present at the event, including but not limited to Calicozy Art, Till Geeks Due Us Part, Little Shop of Morder and Bread Arts. Vendors sold art pieces, stickers, keychains and more.
“When deciding vendors for Eagle Con Jr., originally I had only opened it to the vendors that had previously attended our first Eagle Con. But due to growing interest, I opened it up to anyone. We had people reaching out and asking about spots up until the week of Jr.,” said Shane. “To me, the vendor’s happiness is such an important part of the event. I wouldn’t be able to have these events without them. My team and I take the time to sign thank you cards, we make sure to have food and water during our events.”
Eagle Con also hosted two special guests for the event.
“We also don’t reuse guests from previous years to always keep new interest. It’s also good to look and see if this celebrity has been in the area before,” said Shane.
One of the guests was Clark Furlong, who is an American actor known for his appearance in the show Euphoria.
“When we booked Clark Furlong, his mom was one of our previous vendors from the first Eagle Con and she had pulled me aside to tell me about Clark. I decided he’d be a perfect guest for Jr.,” said Shane.
The second special guest was AstraVoidCosplay. Astra is a nationally recognized cosplayer with over 22,000 followers on Instagram and 66,000 followers on TikTok. She is notable for her intricate cosplays of superheroes, such as Scarlet Witch and Maleficent.
“For our cosplay guest, I met Astra at Fredericksburg Comic and Toy Show the summer of 2022. I had been following her Instagram for a while, and after we met we began talking and one day I approached her with my idea for Eagle Con and she was all for it,” said Shane.
Chris Walker, a sophomore cyber security major, attended the event in full Deadpool cosplay.
“I attended the event because I enjoy cosplay and Eagle Con gave me an opportunity to have fun with other cosplayers right here at UMW,” said Walker. “I was expecting to see people show their creativity and ideas shine in the form of costumes, art, and all kinds of props, just like last Eagle Con.”
He noted that some of the most enjoyable moments from Eagle Con Jr. were getting to see old friends from the previous year’s event.
“My top favorite moments there were seeing some familiar faces from last Eagle Con, like Lewis Greene Illustrations, the Ghostbusters and Astra Void,” he said.
“I loved seeing everyone just enjoying the event because I knew a lot of planning went into it and to see everyone actively enjoying the con from the cosplayers to this family that came and it was this dad and his two children, but it was their first Comic Con event of sorts. Just seeing their faces light up as they walked in just warms my heart to see everyone enjoying it,” said Tyler Paquin, freshman biology major and assistant showrunner.
“This was my first time ever attending anything Eagle Con related, but with how much fun the Jr. version was, I can’t wait until the big Eagle Con next year!” said Bauer.
Sophia Tompkins volunteered during Eagle Con Jr. and is an assistant showrunner for Eagle Con 2024. Ky Huynh contributed to reporting for this article.