Spa-Con 6.0 kicks off at 6 p.m. today, marking the first time the multi-gender convention has been at full power since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“We’re really excited to have this convention back,” Visit Hot Springs special events manager Alexis Hampo said Thursday.
“I mean, we had it last year, but our participation took a hit, and we lost some guests just because they weren’t ready.
“So we’re really excited that all of the guests are very happy to be here in Hot Springs with us. I think all of the attendees and vendors are happy to be back at Spa-Con. The enthusiasm for the whole event is just going to skyrocket, which I’m really excited about,” she said.
Opening ceremonies are set for 6 p.m., followed by a concert by Bit Brigade, a band that performs rock covers of complete Nintendo Entertainment System game soundtracks while their player walks through the game live on stage.
“They’re actually running sped-up, live video games, so they’ll be performing the soundtrack and performing a live race through that video game,” Hampo said. “They will do Mega Man 2 and Castlevania.”
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Saturday will feature the cosplay club and cosplay contests, which is a big draw for the annual event.
“I love all the cosplayers who come to Spa-Con,” Hampo said. “It’s so exciting to see how much work, creativity and imagination they put into what they wear, and these amazing costumes and cosplays.”
Cosplayers will also have the chance to learn from the pros to improve their costumes – from workshops on chainmail with Cowbutt Crunchies to improving foam constructions with Bruce Holt and Cheeky Cheetah to wig styling with Notgrima.
“We have some really great cosplay guests joining us this year,” Hampo said.
“Cowbutt Crunchies…they’re a duo that specializes in couture cosplay, which Spa-Con has yet to see. They’re from Boston.
“We have Notgrima, she’s from Denver. Her work is so good. She’ll be doing a wig styling workshop, so I think anyone who wants to improve their cosplays will have a great chance to learn from some of these nationally renowned cosplayers. and international that will come,” she said.
“We’ve got Bruce Holt, who’s joining us again; he’s coming back to Spa-Con, and then Gregory Harris, who’s local and just a fan favorite, will be joining us as well.”
The main celebrity guests for this year’s event are Lori Petty, Beau Billingslea and Mark Rolston, but Rodger Bumpass and Ashlie Atkinson, both natives of Little Rock, will also be at the event.
“We have amazing guests this year,” Hampo said. “Lori Petty, who was in ‘Tank Girl’, she was in ‘Point Break’, she was in ‘Orange is the New Black’. She’s been in a ton of movies for a while.
“We have Beau Billingslea. He’s a very famous voice actor. One of his most notable roles was as Jet Black in ‘Cowboy Bebop’. Mark Rolston, who was in titles like ‘Shawshank Redemption’, https: //www.hotsr.com/news/2022/sep/23/watch-multi-genre-spa-con-back-at-full-force-with/”Aliens”, the “Saw” franchise, he will be there. And then Rodger Bumpass, who is the voice of not just Squidward Tentacles but so many other beloved cartoons that shaped many childhoods.
Hampo said registration for this year’s event was excellent, with all 100 VIP passes selling out.
“We actually ran out of VIP passes, which is new in Spa-Con history,” she said. “So we’re only offering 100. And compared to previous years, our online registration this year is looking really, really good. So we’re expecting a very good number of people at this convention.”
There will also be plenty of vendors for conventioneers to visit, Hampo said.
“Our vendor booths sold out a while ago, and we have vendors from so many different states this year,” she said.
“So that’s great. We have vendors from Texas, Louisiana, everywhere, including vendors from Arkansas. So people are traveling a while to come to Spa-Con and set up as seller.”