Pop culture fans savor first day of Classic Plastics Toy Expo
PARKERSBURG — Downtown Parkersburg was alive Saturday with hoards of people enjoying the seventh annual Classic Plastics Toy Expo and Savor Saturday.
Cosplayers, or people dressed as characters from books, movies or television shows, could be seen among those who came to check out the merchandise each of the 80 vendors brought.
“Cosplaying is a creative outlet, and allows you to express your interests,” said Gordon Briggs, who was dressed as Serpentor from G.I. Joe.
Briggs said he enjoys that Parkersburg has events like the expo, so that people can have a chance to display their creative talents through their costumes, hand-crafted merchandise and writing.
Saturday afternoon, a panel was offered by Christian Foster called “Cosplay on a budget.”
“There was a lot of interest shown,” said Foster.
When the expo resumes today, Foster will be offering a panel on “Cardboard 101” from noon-1 p.m. Foster said cardboard can be used in many different ways for cosplay.
Each year, the expo features celebrity guests. This year, professional wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan was present along with fellow professional wrestler Buff Bagwell.
“It is always great to come to Parkersburg,” said Duggan.
Duggan said he has been to Parkersburg a few times, including the filming of “Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies.”
“I absolutely love getting to be a part of events like the expo, because they are so fun,” he said.
Duggan said he really liked seeing all of the creative cosplay outfits that could be seen at the expo Saturday, because some looked liked professional costumes, while others were more simple and less flashy.
“But you could tell everyone was proud of their costumes and having a great time at the event,” he said.
Unlike Duggan, it was Bagwell’s first time in Parkersburg.
“I am really excited to spend this weekend having fun at events,” said Bagwell.
While Duggan was only present Saturday, Bagwell was participating at a wrestling event in Madison, W.Va., then heading back to Parkersburg for day two of the expo today.
“I’m really happy so many people were able to make it out and enjoy the expo,” said Tony Workman, owner of Classic Plastics and the expo’s organizer.
The expo will run today from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets are $5 each day with children ages 10 and under admitted free. A portion of the proceeds benefit the art center.
While everyone was downtown enjoying the expo on Saturday, they also had the chance to sample some of the downtown food options through the Savor Saturday event organized by Downtown PKB.
Participating restaurants were the Corner Cafe, Crystal Cafe, Gyro King, Maka Mia Pizza Downtown Parkersburg, My Way Lounge and Restaurant, Parkersburg Brewing Company, The Blennerhassett Restaurant and Lounge, The Cocktail Bar (TCB) and Unity Cafe & Eatery.
“We have seen a lot of new faces,” said Marvin Edwards owner of Maka Mia Pizza, who was offering $1 pepperoni and cheese slices.
“Savor Saturday is a great way to get people to come and explore the growing downtown food options,” he said.
The Coffee Bar also had a $1 option, but they were offering salmon tacos.
“Savor Saturday draws in people who may not know a lot about the business, giving them a chance to try some food and learn about what foods they offer,” said Ashley Lemon, manager of The Coffee Bar.
People who participated in Savor Saturday had no complaints on the food, but felt it was a bit chilly.
“I wish we did events like Savor Saturday more often throughout the year, so that we can enjoy walking from place to place sampling what they offer,” said Rachael Forester.
Trey Kubala, another participant of Savor Saturday, agreed with Forester.
“I too wish it was warmer. I hope the city continues to expand it, because it is a great way to help the downtown keep growing,” he said.
Madeline Scarborough can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org