Horror nerds of Richmond, unite! We finally have our own horror convention coming to town, and just in time for Halloween—courtesy of our old friends at GalaxyCon.
GalaxyCon first made its appearance in the Richmond area in March 2019 and has been an increasingly popular hit ever since. With stops under the original GalaxyCon brand in Raleigh, Columbus, and Richmond, GalaxyCon expanded with its animation label, Animate!, to Raleigh, Columbus, and Des Moines. Richmond will be the first—and so far, only—stop for Nightmare Weekend as it makes its inaugural visit this weekend on October 13th.
Naturally, the horror convention had to come to town on Friday the 13th.
The idea to host a horror/Halloween-specific convention had been in the works for a while. This was partially inspired by the fact that there were guests whom GalaxyCon founder Mike Broder wanted to book, but they just never really fit into the regular lineup. Creating a convention based around the idea of horror and all things spooky helped open the door to some more niche celebrities.
“We’ve been toying with the idea for years,” said Broder. “The whole thing is that at the bigger shows, at GalaxyCon, we’ll bring in a lot of guests. But we’ve never had a large contingent of horror-themed guests, and something had to give. The horror guests never quite fit in, but we always had people asking for them. So we’ve been noodling the idea for years, and then when GalaxyCon hit, we went back to basics to see where we were. Nightmare Weekend is ready, and this is the first horror show we’ve done as a company. This is the proof of concept.”
Much like previous GalaxyCon conventions—and like conventions in most other places—Nightmare Weekend will feature the usual menu items: vendor hall, artist alley, workshops, panels, etc. Of course, with the SAG-AFTRA strike currently going on, one of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind is, how will this affect Q&A panels? According to Broder, not by much.
“We’ve done a couple shows during the strikes,” said Broder. “We did Raleigh, Austin, and Des Moines, so this will be our fourth show during the strike. Basically, they’re not supposed to talk about their work; that’s the big thing. Danny Trejo can talk to you about his tacos, his life, his dog, what he likes to do on the weekends, his favorite barbecue joint. He can talk to you about anything you want to know; he just can’t talk about his work or filming on Machete or anything like that. But frankly, how much is he going to say about filming on the set of Machete? And I’m sure there’s a thousand articles about the filming. What we have found is that the Q&As are more interesting because the actors are asked more personal or intimate questions or about things they love, and not just about a set.”
Currently, attendees can submit all of their burning questions via Nightmare Weekend’s website, even during the show itself. What is the best taco Danny Trejo has ever made? Is there some kind of truth to my internal narrative that Thora Birch is also a big coffee nerd? What are Ken Page’s feelings on pinball?
Only one way to find out.
Anyone who has lived in Richmond knows that we’re a strangely-sized city. We’re by no means a major metropolis, but we’re also not a small town. So, when big events swing through the East Coast, it’s hit or miss whether we get them or have to hop up the highway to D.C. for a day. When I asked Broder about the decision to come to Richmond for Nightmare Weekend, he said it was a no-brainer—both because of the market and the fact that the city and the building itself are so supportive of them and their events.
Richmond has never had a horror convention. Prior to Nightmare Weekend, you’d either have to schlep up to New Jersey for Horror Con or head the opposite way toward Orlando for Spooky Empire. (And while you’re down there, go to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal so I can live vicariously through you.) That isn’t even touching on the cons in the Midwest and California.
So, yeah. This is kind of a big deal.
Also, did I mention that the General Manager of the Richmond Convention Center’s name is apparently Michael Myers?
“The general manager of the Richmond Convention Center, his name is Michael Myers,” said Broder. “I couldn’t get one of the Halloween actors this year, but every year I swear I’m going to. Every year he comes by and hangs out with [William] Shatner. He and the whole team are just really supportive of everything. We have a really great city, and a great building, and a city that really embraces us. We’re going to see what happens, and I think we’ll have a great turnout for the event. I just hope everyone has a great time.”
Chatting with him, it’s clear he’s just as excited for the big event as I am, if not more. With seventeen years of shows under his belt, I had to ask what he was most looking forward to with the inaugural convention.
“I’m going to give you two answers,” said Broder. “From a non-guest perspective, my favorite thing about the show is seeing people walk around happy. I really enjoy the big rooms for Q&As or costume contests, or just walking the floor and seeing people happy. I most look forward to entertaining people and seeing them have a good time meeting the guests they want to see. I know it sounds goofy, but the only event I’m always at is the costume contest. From the other perspective, we never get to book people like Danny Trejo and Joe Dante. So, having them at the show is really exciting for us.”
He also mentioned that next year is already planned, and it’s going to be absolutely wild, especially compared to this one. Spoiler: it sounds killer.
I’ll see myself out.
GalaxyCon’s Nightmare Weekend will run at the Greater Richmond Convention Center from Friday, October 13th, 2023, through Sunday, October 15th, 2023. Located at 403 N. 3rd St, Richmond, VA 23219, tickets are currently on sale through the GalaxyCon website. Prices range from single-day tickets at $35 to $55 to 3-day VIP passes for $250. For more information, visit the GalaxyCon website HERE