Fan Con draws young crowd, and some storm troopers, too

Chloe Sacco, 17, Pina Sindoni, 17, and Aiden Wallace, 15, dressed up as their favorite characters from the television show “Hazbin Hotel” at the Derry Fan Con.

Chloe Sacco, 17, Pina Sindoni, 17, and Aiden Wallace, 15, dressed up as their favorite characters from the television show “Hazbin Hotel” at the Derry Fan Con. KATELYN SAHAGIAN—Eagle Tribune staff photo


Eagle Tribune

Published: 06-12-2024 11:00 AM

It’s not every day storm troopers visit the local library, but on a day dedicated to the more fanatical side, what would it be without the iconic white armored space soldiers?

The third annual Fan Con at the Derry Public Library, 64 E. Broadway, Saturday highlighted the passions of teens through different contests, meet and greets with professional cosplayers, trivia, and more that celebrates interests that traditionally fall outside the mainstream.

“I remember my parents didn’t get it when I was into stuff like anime as a teen,” said Liz Ryan, the adult programming coordinator for the library and one of the creators of Fan Con.

The 501st New England Garrison, a group of storm trooper performers, came to show off their lack of shooting skills to the excitement and entertainment of con-goers.

This year, Ryan said they decided to focus more on things that teens love. She said there have been a lot of young visitors looking for anime and manga recommendations, to play video games, and to learn about tabletop role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons.

Appreciation of the entertainment forms were on full display throughout the day. From a Super Smash Brothers video game tournament run by children and teen librarian Yahira Vallario to a costume contest where the teens showed off their takes on different characters, the young visitors were encouraged to showcase their interests.

The event’s first anime art contest had eight entries, showing off traditional anime style artwork of characters from popular anime like “My Hero Academia” and “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure.”

On the patio, teens talked about the different costumes they were wearing, gushing about the different styles and choices the other competitors made, and offering advice on different costume building techniques.

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One teen, Jacoby Ovalles, 16, from Chester came dressed as Springtrap, an evil animatronic from the popular horror video game series “Five Nights and Freddy’s.”

A group of friends dressed as the lead characters from the animated television musical comedy “Hazbin Hotel,” and quickly bonded with another con attendee over their love of the show and characters.

Ryan said this is what the event is supposed to be about — showing young fans that they have a place to express their interests and enjoy the day.

“This is a place for kids to do what they value and what they want,” she said.