Jedis, Wonder Woman, Captain America and Moana are just a few of the people who are taking over the Rabobank Convention Center this weekend.
The center is hosting a Collector Con, which started Saturday and ends on Sunday. The event includes toys, comics and collectibles for sale as well as celebrity guests, a costume contest, live music, raffles and more.
One of the attendees of the con on Saturday was Andrea Lopez, a native of south Mexico who came to the United States as a child. She said she wasn’t exposed to much entertainment before she came to the U.S.
“When I came here, I was exposed to so much technology and entertainment,” she said. “I’ve grown up being a fan of science fiction and action movies.”
Lopez said growing up with the Star Wars prequels as well as seeing the first Iron Man movie had a significant impact on her.
“They uplifted my spirit and made me feel like I could do something, become something great,” she said.
Lopez has been studying astrophysics at Bakersfield College for the past few years. She plans to eventually get her Ph.D in the subject. She also works at the college in helping to run its planetarium.
She is also a leading member of the Kern Astronomical Society, a group that promotes astronomy events around town. They also hold events for school groups.
Lopez credited some of the science fiction films she grew up with for inspiring her to pursue a career in astrophysics.
“All science fiction can become a possibility with us moving forward in science,” she said. “It’s becoming more and more likely that you can have an Iron Man suit.”
Lopez said she came out to the event for the first time to get exposed to it and support the local vendors.
“I know things like this are way bigger in places like (Los Angeles) than here, but I think there’s a lot of potential here,” she said. “I think it’s capable of being a big event if we support it as a community, make people aware of it and encourage everyone to attend.”
Leonard Madrid brought his two daughters to the Collector Con on Saturday so that they could have some fun family time before kids head off to school next week.
“We all enjoy this kind of stuff,” he said. “There’s a lot of affordable stuff this year. Usually you find stuff that’s way overpriced. It’s pretty reasonable.”
Katherine Haas came dressed up as the DC Comics superheroine Wonder Woman. It was her first time doing cosplay. She also brought her daughter to the convention.
“It’s super fun,” she said. “I get to be Wonder Woman and take pictures with people. It’s especially great to see little girls come up to me. I hung out with Captain America this morning, which was pretty sweet.”
Karina Sotelo also came in costume as the character Moana from the Disney film. She said she put together her own outfit, including a headpiece and some of her clothes.
“It’s fun to be someone else for a little bit,” she said. “Moana’s a very universal character. Everyone can easily recognize her. Who doesn’t love Disney?”
Sotelo said she tries to go out to events like this as often as she can and encourages others to try them out.
“I think it’s awesome that we get to come together as our own little community,” she said. “It’s great to see everyone in the same kind of environment, people who have the same interests.”