Sour economy may be sweet for this year's Adventure Con

Tommy Rose of Knoxville looks through a dealer's booth of 'Star Wars' toys while dressed in his Captain America outfit during 2008's Adventure Con. This year's festival runs today through Sunday.

Tommy Rose of Knoxville looks through a dealer's booth of 'Star Wars' toys while dressed in his Captain America outfit during 2008's Adventure Con. This year's festival runs today through Sunday.

Tommy Rose of Knoxville looks through a dealer's booth of 'Star Wars' toys while dressed in his Captain America outfit during 2008's Adventure Con. This year's festival runs today through Sunday.

Tommy Rose of Knoxville looks through a dealer's booth of 'Star Wars' toys while dressed in his Captain America outfit during 2008's Adventure Con. This year's festival runs today through Sunday.

Adventure Con

  • What: Pop-culture collectibles show featuring comics, toys and celebrities.
  • When: Today, Saturday and Sunday
  • Where: Knoxville Convention Center
  • Admission: $15 for a day pass; $25 for a three-day pass.
  • On the web: Adventurecon.com

Recession woes were “a big concern” in planning this year’s Adventure Con, but organizers say the event is weathering it well.

The pop-culture collectibles show at the Knoxville Convention Center, the largest of its kind in the area, has lowered the cost of a three-day pass to $25. Daily passes are $15.

Also, an influx of local traffic may help with numbers of attendees. Comic book collectors who may like to attend larger shows such as Comic-Con International in San Diego, are opting to stay here this year, says Adam Phelps, who organizes Adventure Con each year.

“I think we’ll benefit by having more people from around the region be there,” he says.

Even the celebrity guests are changing how they charge. Former pro wrestler Mick Foley, who normally has separate charges for photos and autographs, is now only doing one rate to include both, Phelps says.

Adventure Con, now in its third year under Phelps’ management, is adopting a “classic ‘80s TV” theme for this year. Celebrity guests include “Diff’rent Strokes ” pair Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges; “Greatest American Hero” star William Katt and “Incredible Hulk” actor Lou Ferrigno. Phelps says this is the first time Bridges and Coleman have done this kind of a show together.

Though Phelps says he was concerned about how many dealers would actually do the show this year due to the economy, the final number of them is actually up a little from last year. “We have between 80 to 90 dealers this year,” he says.

Besides the typical toy-and-comics lineup of dealers, Adventure Con this year will also feature the Central Arizona Ghostbusters and the Hard Knox roller derby girls.

Fans of “Star Wars” will attend dressed as their favorite characters as well as devotees of “Ghostbusters,” G.I. Joe and “Starship Troopers.”

A panel featuring three actors who have played Jason in the “Friday the 13th” movies is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

A Saturday-night after-hours party, usually billed as a “VIP” event, will be open to the general public this year, complete with a DJ and a karaoke contest. Admission is $10 if you have a ticket to the convention. If not, the cost is $30.

“A lot of people are sticking closer to home this year,” Phelps says, “and this is a little bit more affordable for them.”

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