Lauren Colyer-Pendas returned to her hometown of Saratoga Springs on Saturday afternoon dressed as Pikachu from the animated television series, “Pokémon.”
The Nassau resident was one of more than 5,000 people who were expected to attend Saratoga Comic Con, which will be held through Sunday at the Saratoga Springs City Center.
Colyer-Pendas brought her son and husband, who dressed up as Ash Ketchum and Charizard, also from “Pokémon.”
“I grew up a comic book geek,” she said. “I’ve been to indie and big Comic Cons across the country and this one is pretty big.”
Colyer-Pendas said she found out about Saratoga Comic Con on Facebook.
“I was shocked when I found out they had one here,” she said. “It’s pretty big and it’s family friendly.”
Colyer-Pendas added that smaller Comic Cons, like the one in Saratoga Springs, are a great opportunity for comic book and pop culture fans.
“They’re not outragously priced and it gives people the chance to support local artists and meet stars,” she said. “Everyone here loves the same things and it’s great to see all the costumes people are wearing.”
Leo Reilly of Norwich in Chenango County was dressed as Kiki from the anime movie, “Kiki’s Delivery Service.”
“My friends got me into anime,” she said. “I thought it was cool and boosts my confidence.”
Reilly’s mother, Michelle, who tagged along with her daughter for the weekend, said the event was a great family outing.
“It’s a creative outlet for her,” Michelle said. “It’s also connected her with people from across the country and the world.”
Robert Silver and his wife, Rowyn Golde, attended Saratoga Comic Con as vendors for the fifth time.
The Cohoes resident said they travel to 20 different Comic Cons every year across the country to sell their handmade items, artwork and comics.
“It’s a great face-to-face opportunity with the community,” he said. “You can go online and get something, but it means so much more to connect with people.”
Silver said Comic Cons used to only celebrate comics and now they’re centered around television and movies as well.
“It’s more of a pop culture celebration,” he said. “Artists don’t get as much attention as they used to.”
Samuel Chase, president of Chase Con Expo, the company that hosts Saratoga Comic Con, said it’s been thrilling to watch attendance and attractions increase each year.
“We fill up the city with a family friendly convention that is welcoming to a lot of people,” he said. “People go out to eat, shop and stay at local hotels, which is great for the community.”
Chase said in the future he hopes to have more vendors, attractions and star appearances.
“I want to see it become even bigger,” he said. “I want people to say ‘this is the best Comic Con in upstate New York.'”