Those planning to cosplay at Bakersfield Collector-Con will want to make sure their super suits, wizard cloaks and apocalypse survivor wear have some place to put a wallet because there will be a lot to buy at the convention.
The two-day event returns to the Rabobank Convention Center this Saturday and Sunday, with vendors selling all things comics, toys and pop culture. There will also be appearances by special guests, cosplay contests and more.
"It's a good family-fun event where you get to experience something different, kind of like an out-of-town convention here in town," said Nick Avalos, founder and organizer of Collector-Con. "It brings out the inner child in everyone."
So far, the convention has more than 20 special guests from movies and television, but more could still be added up until the day of the event.
"We usually have 15 to 20 special guests but sometimes we go overboard," Avalos said, noting this year is one of those times. "Once word gets out, we've been lucky (and get) a lot more people wanting to come."
One of the guests Avalos is particularly excited about is actor Brandon Crane, who played young Ben Hanscom in the 1990 "It" miniseries. Those horror fans who have already seen the recently released "It: Chapter 2" might have spotted Crane in a cameo.
Another guest is Rikki Simons, an actor, writer and illustrator best known as the voice of GIR in Nickelodeon's "Invader ZIM" and the series' recent Netflix movie "Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus." Also at the convention will be actor and wrestler Robert Allen Mukes of "House of 1000 Corpses," which has a sequel, "3 From Hell," coming out this week.
"Our lineup is really strong this year because of those new releases," Avalos said. "Everyone is really excited."
Other guests include actor Carla Perez, who was Rita Repulsa in the original "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers"; voice actor Kerrigan Patrick Mahan, who has voiced many characters in various "Power Rangers" shows and movies; Rico E. Anderson, who has been in episodes of "The Orville" and "SWAT"; and actor/producer Ryan T. Husk, who was in "Star Trek Into Darkness."
Though many guests will be there both days of the event, some will only be there for one day. Check out the convention's Facebook page for more information on who will be there when.
Vendors will include Man Bites Dog, Silver Wolf Comics and Collectibles, The Hunted, and more. Some will have convention-exclusive items, like the Kool Kombi Hot Wheels car at Moe's Customs' booth.
Items for sale can range from $1 to $1,000, with rare vintage finds going for a higher price. Chuck Arias, aka The Hunted, will be there selling vintage items. He said the convention is like a family reunion for fellow vendors and collectors.
"What this con is — it just brings a lot of pure innocence," Arias said. "This is our getaway."
Attendees are encouraged to cosplay and compete in the convention's contest, where they could win a cash prize. One of last year's winners was Beast from "Beauty and the Beast."
"They're very creative and each year gets bigger and bigger," Avalos said. "Every year they outdo themselves."
The convention tends to get around 3,000 people over the weekend each year. Though it might not be quite the production that the San Diego Comic-Con is, for a fraction of the price, guests can still have a day (or weekend) full of sci-fi/fantasy/comics fun.
"I don't want to compare ourselves to San Diego," Avalos said, "but it does give you a little taste."