Sandemonium back for its fourth year

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

It’s a year of change for Sandemonium.

Well-dressed cosplay attendees at last year’s Sandemonium. Courtesy photo.

The first is obvious for those who have enjoyed previous years of the event, a celebration of all things nerdy. Rather than taking place in late August as with previous years, Sandemonium 2019 lands this Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Forrest M. Bird Charter School. But people can still expect the same great time enjoying cosplay, games, panels and more.

“I love that Sandemonium creates opportunity for like-minded people to come together and celebrate their common interests,” said Kevin Penelerick, planning committee co-chair. “Whether it’s gaming, comic books, anime, cosplay or whatever somebody likes to geek out about, Sandemonium has something for everyone.”

The new date will hopefully allow more students to attend. Fresh out of school and ready for new weekend activities, they’ll have Sandemonium as one option this weekend to keep them busy. While the event is popular with teenagers, it draws a broad range of ages, from young children to young adults and sometimes whole families — often in coordinated costumes.

Like other fandom events, cosplay — or dressing up as a favorite fictional character — is a major part of Sandemonium. And sure enough, a costume contest is the centerpiece of the convention. One of the most popular aspects of Sandemonium, the contest draws dozens of participants for judging, with a chance to show off on stage in front of their friends and family later in the day.

If you’re interested in learning about designing your own costume, Sandemonium has panels for that and much more. From chainmail construction to sewing to tutorials on art and YouTube creation, there’s something to learn for everyone.

“Every year at Sandemonium I learn something new, and I meet a huge amount of awesome people,” said steering committee member Bronwyn Toth. “I love the community that comes with, ‘Hey! I like this thing!’ and it’s always great to see other people learning and meeting new people as well.”

Likewise, gaming is a major focus of Sandemonium, with this year placing a greater emphasis on board and tabletop games. Are you a veteran of “Dungeons and Dragons” role-playing games, or have you never rolled a D20 in your life? Either way, there will be options for you, including a panel that will teach the basics of the game. As for board games, several different titles will be available for play throughout the day at Sandemonium.

Another change this year is the addition of a special guest. Actress Sandi Sellner, who played the robot Alpha 5 on the TV show “Power Rangers,” will be attending to describe the experience of working on a major TV show. Expect a fascinating look into the world of show biz.

Of course, some changes are bittersweet. I’ve worked on Sandemonium since its debut four years ago, and Penelerick has been involved for three years. Due to upcoming changes in our lives, both of us have to step down from planning the event. Of course, that brings about an opportunity for new planning committee members to make Sandemonium bigger and better than ever. Those who want to see Sandemonium continue by contributing to the planning process should email me at [email protected]

“Growing up in a time before these kinds of things were as widely appreciated as they are today, I’m honored to be a part of helping with the event and creating space for others to come celebrate what they enjoy,” Penelerick said.

Check out Sandemonium from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at Forrest Bird Charter School. Cost of entry is $3.

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