Thunder-Con draws crowd over weekend

News Photo by Michael Gonzalez Cosplayer Bebe Stenz holds a “Cosplay-101” panel in the back of Art in the Loft on July 9.

ALPENA — If there’s an event to let your nerd flag fly, this would be the one.

Thunder-Con — a pop-culture convention for all ages — drew a crowd this weekend at Art in the Loft in downtown Alpena.

Event-goers walked around to different booths that included guest stars, toys and props displays, and shops. Many participants of the convention were dressed casually, while others were dressed in costumes representing their favorite fictional characters.

“We haven’t been to anything in three years because of the pandemic,” cosplayer Max Isaacson said. “This is the first time in a while we’ve been in our Klingon outfits. It gets really hot.”

Isaacson and his friend Scott Roth cosplayed as their original Klingon characters, D’Makk and Baltek, respectively, from a Star Trek roleplaying game.

News Photo by Michael Gonzalez From left to right, event-goers Scott Roth and Max Isaacson show off their original Klingon characters’ garb.

One guest star who appeared was a local cosplayer, Bebe Stenz. Stenz professionally makes cosplay and commissions props for customers seeking to buy a quality cosplay item.

Stenz has won awards for her cosplays and props, so she hosted a panel for others to learn the basics of building the attire.

“Cosplay is my passion,” Stenz said. “And I’m fortunate that I get paid for it.”

Kids and adults alike were asking questions about her processes on how to make props. She explained that a big part of cosplay is figuring out which techniques, shortcuts, and materials are best for each piece.

It’s also important to figure out which equipment is best, she said.

“There’s a heat gun at Michael’s that I’ve tried and it doesn’t do a whole lot,” Stenz said. “I’ve also bought a heat gun at Harbor Freight that caught on fire.”

Overall, those who attended Thunder-Con were glad to be back in person with other cosplay enthusiasts and look forward to more opportunities to gather.


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