A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of visiting Garden State Comic Fest Winter Edition. It was held at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall in Rockaway, NJ on February 5-6, 2022. While it was definitely one of their smaller cons, it was a great way to ease us back into con season.
Certainly, there were some other cons of various sizes before GSCF in 2022, but winter is generally a slower time for cons in the northeast. The possibility of snow and the lack of funds by many people after the holiday season usually reduces the number of cons in January, and in February they start to return.
Dave O’Hare and Sal Zurzolo, the showrunners, didn’t try to get overly ambitious with this con. It was relatively small compared to their con at the Mennan Arena in Morristown. But it was also a lot of fun, giving cosplayers a chance to shake off the winter rust and fans to enjoy the company of their fellow fans that didn’t involve standing in line for hours. Vendors and artists also had the opportunity to make some money (they got some of mine) and the attendance was more than enough to make it worth their while.
There were comic artist guests and even a few wrestlers, but most of the fans just seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. Plus, with the con located in a mall, one could avoid the high prices of food that is usual at convention centers and one could browse other stores if a break was needed. The “normies” at the mall were bemused at the superheroes suddenly in their midst, but some actually decided to attend the con. And in this age of online shopping, having a bunch of nerds with disposable income descend upon a retail center isn’t a bad thing for the local stores.
Overall, Garden State Comic Fest Winter Edition was a great way to kick off con season and I am definitely looking forward to their next event at the Mennan Area in Morristown, New Jersey on July 9th and 10th.
To learn more about Garden State Comic Fest, you can visit https://www.gardenstatecomicfest.com.