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Photo by Christina Main

Iron Goblin Masks will be one of the guests/vendors at the first Bakersfield Collector-Con, which takes place Sunday at the Holiday Inn on Marriott Drive.

You know you've made it in the collecting world when your town is big enough to justify more than one event a year.

The first-ever Bakersfield Collector-Con -- not to be confused with a more established show with a similar name -- will bring a slate of comics, toys, games, costumed guests and more to town Sunday.

Organizer Nick Avalos said this event came out of the growing demand among local collectors.

"I know a lot of the antiques stores and the comic book stores," said Avalos, who owns the 19th Street Antique Mall. "One of the main feedbacks I got is that Bakersfield Comic-Con is just once a year. Everyone was hoping for another show."

So Avalos decided to oblige fans, getting a jump on Bakersfield Comic-Con, scheduled for Sept. 22.

"A lot of people don't realize that we have as many comic stores as we have. ... This was just to try it out. I was amazed at the response I got (from vendors). It was sold out in three weeks."

Among the 20 vendors are Leeters, Man Bites Dog Emporium, X-Tream Game Pit, Harper's Bizarre and Main Street Comics.

Avalos, who has been selling comics for the past three years, said most of the vendors offer a mix of books and collectibles.

"In this type of business, you get into both worlds. You get into comics and, when you realize there is a market for toys, you get into toys.

"There are two (for the show) that specialize in games, but they also have comic books and they have collectible toys. They get into everything they know in this business."

Based on word of mouth and flier distribution, Avalos said he expects a good turnout Sunday.

"They (vendors) do it because they know there will be a ton of people, and they will promote their business.

"If you get 500 to 1,000 people to the show, those are people that are eventually going to come to your store."

Keeping things interesting will be local company Iron Goblin, which will display its line of elaborate masks at the show, and local representatives from The Twin Suns, a Star Wars club that will have an information booth and up to 10 members in full costume posing for photos.

Speaking of costumes, those who dress up for Sunday's event not only get in free but may also enter the costume contest. The prize for the top look -- decided by the audience -- is $50 in cash.

Guests have another chance to win at the Relay for Life fundraising raffle. Vendors contributed items to lots, which will be raffled off each hour during the show. Tickets are $1 each, and guests must be present to win.

Even though the local Collector-Con and Comic-Con are just about six weeks apart, Avalos said, there's enough business for both, including from his family.

"My kids have sold at Comic-Con and they will continue. ... We go out there (to Bakersfield Comic-Con) and set them up, and they sell their toys and their comic books. Sometimes they buy a little more than they sell."

Already planning for next year, Avalos said he'd like to allow for some time between events to make sure vendors and attendees can get the most out of both cons.

"Next year we're going to focus on a much bigger scale, to focus on making it affordable. If I can allow a family to get in for under $20, that means they have more money in their pocket to spend at the show."