I had the pleasure of spending the weekend in Williamsburg, VA as a “celebrity” at a signing convention. Fighting the “REAL MONSTERS” of childhood illness, breast cancer and more, Scares That Care! selects 3 families a year with financial burdens brought on by these issues. For the price of admission, participants are offered everything from classes and workshops to a Kids Zone with movies, books, board games, coloring books, costumes, crafts and a selfie station. The staff of the DoubleTree were all in the spirit, wearing costumes of favorite horror characters. As we all arrived, there was a screening of Piranha at the inviting indoor/outdoor pool and “Scaryoke” started up in the bar.
A Prop Decoration Contest provided the promenade displays surrounding the Silent Auction and a ballroom housed vendors of all kinds. A Podcast Room hosted live recordings as well as a mixer-event for podcasters while a steady stream of authors hosted discussions in the Author Reading Room. Seminars and demos included make-up and costume instruction as well as seminars from the Center for Paranormal Research and Investigation. There was even a Kid’s Zombie Hunt and an Escape Room based on H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
There were also many Q&A panels. I sat on the “Be Fearless” – Bad-ass Females in Horror panel answering questions alongside Agnes Bruckner, Tracie Thoms, Kerry Remsen, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Samantha Ferris and Pisay Pao. I’ve participated in many Q&A’s over the years but I was kinda blown away by the probing and female-forward questions we got and the answers the panel offered. The honest and in-depth discussion was a highlight for me.
So was the Kids Trick-or-Treat Parade on Saturday when a steady stream of costumed kids came by our tables to fill bags with candy. I missed the Costume Contest but saw the aftermath at Scaryoke that night. People really went all out. The Rocky Horror Picture Show played at midnight but our group was still singing. Agnes, Tracie, Kerry and I are all represented by the same signing agent, Scott Ray, and we had a great time getting to know each other as well as the amazing people who drive in from as far as Minneapolis and Florida to attend the annual event. We especially enjoyed joining in with the singing and dancing every night to experience moments like 2 Sons of Anarchy-types taking on Escape (The Pineapple Colada Song) and Tracie Thoms singing a duet from Rent with a delighted young fan.
The people were truly my favorite part of the experience. From the other celebrities like the gracious and talented Julian Sands and Westworld‘s Jeff Daniel Phillips to the tireless and smile-inducing Korey at the front desk, everyone was happy to contribute to the cause and the spirit of the event. Security was provided by retired police officers and everyone associated with the event worked on a completely volunteer basis. I’ve only done 4 of these ComicCon-type weekends and I always enjoy meeting the people who love our work, but this convention was special. We were all in it together in a new way. It was truly my privilege to be a part of their fundraising efforts. To DONATE.