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Bay College in Escanaba holds inaugural BAY-CON

Hundreds of people, including some in costumes, gathered to celebrate forms of pop-culture from the past and present
The event was a celebration of pop culture from both the past and present. Some attendees dressed up in costumes, including Star Wars and Power Rangers.
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WLUC) - On a college campus far, far away were two siblings, Charles & Emily Hickman. When a friend told them about a new event in Escanaba, they knew they had to go.

“(My friend) said that there’d be a lot of vendors here. Having a local event and having really good cosplays, like the dark trooper and the snow trooper, are really good,” said Charles Hickman.

The brother-sister duo were among hundreds at Bay College’s Joseph Heirman University Center for the inaugural BAY-CON. It was a celebration of pop culture that people of all ages grew up loving, ranging from comic books to video games.

The school’s Director of Student Life and Title IX Coordinator, Dave Laur, said this was an idea that dated back to 2018.

“The last couple of years have been rough for everybody and rough for our community,” Laur said. “And so we started thinking about it again now that things are opening back up. What is something fun we can do that just doesn’t have all the stress, and brings people together in a positive way? BAY-CON was it.”

There was plenty of entertainment, including a video game room, pinball, and getting zombified by EMT students. Some dressed in costumes, including Star Wars stormtroopers and Power Rangers.

More than 37 vendors sold baseball cards, artwork, collectible toys, and even vinyl records. Jon Teichman, a vendor from The Emporium in Marquette, had one favorite part of the event.

“It’s seeing all the young people that are as excited about this stuff as I was when I was that age,” Teichman said.

One of the convention’s goals was for everyone to feel like kids once more.

“You see that toy you had as a kid, and instantly, you’re ten (years old). You’re eight again. You’re holding that Nintendo game that you opened up, and you’re transported to a different time,” said Laur.

Emily Hickman said she and her brother would attend this kind of event again.

“It’s really fun seeing everybody’s ideas and their creative aspects. Like us, we have our costumes put together, but some people have costumes from the actual shows themselves,” Emily Hickman said.

BAY-CON will return with “BAY-CON Strikes Back” on April 22 when college students will join the community in celebrating pop culture once again.

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