Dressed for the occasion

Chris DeHart, a local makeup artist from Rocky Gap, Va., poses as a goblin character at last year’s Rising Star Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention.

BLUEFIELD — With activities like Robo Sumo, combat demos and role playing games, the Rising Star Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention is set to hold their 23rd event at Bluefield State College Oct. 24-25.

Tickets are $5 for guests over the age of 6. The event is free for children under 6 as well as students, faculty and staff of BSC.

Jerry Conner, campus advisor at BSC and organizer for the convention, said there will be quite an assortment of writers, artists and musicians as well as vendors selling various science fiction merchandise.

The college will play host to multiple activities including Robo Sumo, which pits robots against each other with the goal of pushing the opponent out of the ring.

“We’re going to have the Bluefield State College Robotics Team and possibly a team from Tazewell High School,” said Conner.

A demonstration from Abington Historical Combat will recreate how a typical man on the street would defend himself before the days of firearms and without a suit of armor or a horse.

Pure Steam, a fantasy role playing game, will take place in the game room around 1 p.m. on Saturday.

“It’s a fantasy role-playing game set in the steam punk world, like in Jules Verne or H.G. Wells,” said Conner. “However, it will take place in Appalachian where the major city in the game world is Bluefield.”

Other activities will include gaming for beginners, costuming on a budget and an introduction to LARPing (live action role playing).

The event will also focus on Godzilla, as this year mark’s the 1954 movie’s 60th anniversary.

Several guests will include comic book writer and novelist Dan Delby, author Paul Dellinger, local author Laura Lyn, fantasy author R.S. Belcher and book dealer Doug Cheshire.

Proceeds collected during the event will go toward a scholarship in memory of Jonathan David “Jonny” Miller, a graduate of BSC and supporter of the USS Yeager when it was still part of the science fiction club.

Conner said he encourages people to come in costume. A costume call is set for Saturday evening.

The event started in Roanoke Va., and moved to BSC around 2005. The first year in Bluefield brought about 50 guests.

“We had about 250 last year,” said Conner. “We’re hoping to break the 300 mark this year.”

— Contact Jackie Puglisi at jpuglisi@ptonline.net

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