Attendance doubles from last year’s event; organizer ‘blown away’ by reception

(Dec. 14, 2018) The second annual Ocean City Comic Con, held last Saturday, was a huge success as attendance doubled from the year before.

According to organizer James Dufendach, more than 4,500 people visited the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street for Comic Con festivities, which included Cosplay, workshops, comic books on display, anime and costume contests.

501st

Members of the Maryland 501st Legion display a functioning replica of R2-D2 during the Ocean City Comic Convention at the convention center on 40th Street, Saturday. Pictured, from left, are Michael Perkins, Allen McKechnie, Bria LaVorgna and Malcolm Reynolds.

The inaugural event was held at the Grand Hotel and Spa on 21st Street, but since the crowd was so large in 2017, it was moved to the convention center this year.

“I want to thank everybody who came,” Dufendach said. “I’m blown away … I’m very humbled by it. My favorite thing was seeing so many people coming out and enjoying the nerdy stuff that I love … that is very heartening.”

A number cosplayer guests who attended the first OC Comic Con gave this year’s event rave reviews.

“This [is] my 12th con,” Dagsboro resident Tyler Culver said. “It’s a lot more open than the last one. There’s definitely a lot more people this time and the vendor room is a big step up from last year which is a big part for conventions. We’re all nerds and we all need friends and this is a good place to make friends. I love small local cons like this and I hope it continues to go on for a long time.”

“Last year was actually my first con,” Laurel, Delaware resident Suzanna Cole said. “It’s way bigger, which is like a huge upgrade, and it’s been good for everyone, because last year it was so crowded. This one is way better and there seems to be a lot more people. Maybe next year it will triple in size.”

Vendors also appreciated the increase in size, which gave them a better chance to sell their merchandise.

“They have a very nice setup. [There’s] a lot of room for all the vendors to have their wares,” Dynamite Webber cosplayer Shawn Webber, of Milford, Delaware, said. “[There was] a lot of foot traffic through to sell things and meet new people. It’s nice. I like it a lot.”

For some attendees, this comic con was their first, including Berlin resident Matthew Sponagle.

“This is my first year [and con],” Sponagle said. “I’m loving it … It’s been great. The feeling of community and everyone here is just spreading the love. To see all these things we love come together in one place is just magical. If you have an opportunity to come to one of these and you like this stuff, definitely come out because it’s been an amazing experience.”

Despite the immense popularity of the convention, Dufendach currently has no plans on extending the convention into a two-day event.

“There will not be a two-day event in the near future,” he said. “I think one day will do it for us. I like one-day shows, personally.”

Despite this, Dufendach does intend on changing up next year’s convention, making it bigger and better than this one.

“Stay tuned. We will be making some changes and bringing some bigger things,” Dufendach said. “We will be changing things around a little bit. It won’t be exactly the same thing … we want to make sure every year is a little different.”

Overall, Dufendach considered the event a huge success due in part to his staff and the vendors who attended.

“The Ocean City convention center volunteers and all the people that ran it with us, they’re insane ... they’re wonderful,” he said. “I can’t say enough nice things about them. They just worked all day with smiles on their faces and that made me happy to see. I’m blown away by them.”

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