Fans don costumes, get 1-on-1 access with celebrities at Steel City Con – TribLIVE

Fans don costumes, get 1-on-1 access with celebrities at Steel City Con – TribLIVE

Steel City Con at the Monroeville Convention Center allowed pop culture fans to interact with celebrities and express themselves through costumes all weekend long.

The convention celebrated it’s 30th anniversary a few months ago and is one of the largest comic conventions in the nation, according to its organizers.

“The people here are great. The celebs are fabulous,” said Steve Fowler of Seven Fields, Butler County. “We came here when Henry Winkler, the Fonz, was here a couple years ago. He was great.”

Fowler and his wife, Lisa, were dressed as Mister Rogers and his trolley. They won for best couple in the adult costume contest Sunday.

“We’ve done it a few times,” Lisa Fowler said about attending Steel City Con and dressing up in costumes together. “There’s some really good costumes here. It’s always impressive to see how much effort people put into it and their creativity.”

Steve Fowler also served as a stand-in for actor Tom Hanks, who played Fred Rogers in the recently released “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Lisa Fowler was an extra in the film as a hair dresser on the WQED set.

The convention usually takes place in April, August and December. Organizers have already announced some of the celebrities slated to appear in April. They include Cailey Fleming, Avi Nash, Alanna Masterson and Steven Ogg of “The Walking Dead” and Freddie Prinze Jr. from such films as “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer.

Aaron Jones, 28, of Mannington, W.Va. spared no expense when it came to his costume. Jones was dressed as Dr. John Hammond, the owner of Jurassic Park in the iconic Steven Spielberg movie of the same name.

“I’ve been a huge ‘Jurassic Park’ fan my entire life,” he said. “I grew up watching the movies. It’s my fandom of choice, and John Hammond was just such an iconic character. He dreamt of (the park). If it wasn’t for his vision in the movies, we wouldn’t have such a great fandom in the Jurassic universe like we do.”

Jones said he made the trek from West Virginia to Monroeville to be with similar artists.

“Just seeing the creativity and being around people that share the same interests as you,” Jones said. “It’s really a unique place with unique people who are all very gifted in their different ways. It’s just amazing to spend some time with them.”

Some attendees reconnected with people at the convention they have not seen a long time.

“Every time I come here, I always run into people I used to work with or am friends with,” said Stephen Jones of Ross. “It’s easy to make friends here. … It’s kind of like a big family gathering. I support it and hope people come out here and check it out. Everybody here’s pretty humble and genuine.”

Jones was not in costume. He came to see the celebrities.

Guests at this month’s con included Cary Elwes, Wallace Shawn and Chris Sarandon from “The Princess Bride;” Neve Campbell, who starred in “Party of Five” and “Scream;” Denise Richards from “Wild Things” and “Starship Troopers;” Carmen Electra who starred in “Baywatch” and MTV’s “Singled Out;” Tony Danza from “Whose the Boss?” and Patrick Renna from “The Sandl0t”. WWE Hall-of-Famers Trish Stratus, “Lita” Amy Dumas and Devon Dudley were also in attendance.

Dudley’s one half of one of the greatest tag teams to ever step into the squared circle. He and his wrestling half-brother Bubba Ray Dudley made up the Dudley Boyz, also known as Team 3D.

“Every time I do any of these events where I come out here and see all walks of life, seeing all the different costumes and people reenacting what they watch on TV is a tremendous thing,” Dudley said. “It’s almost like pro wrestling when guys dress up like us and show up.”

Dudley’s been in the wrestling business for 28 years, was a champion more than 20 times and performed just about all over the world. He still works behind the scenes at WWE as a producer on Monday Night Raw, and trains future stars at Team 3D Academy in Fissimmee, Fla.

He was a guest at RWA’s Season’s Beatings in West Newton Saturday night, and liked what he saw.

“Any time you can go into an area where there’s local talent, you get to see where the future of pro wrestling’s going,” Dudley said. “I’m happy to say that not only last night, but even nights before, that when I went to other states and their organizations, the future looks bright.

“The wrestling show last night I went to was tremendous. The kids were great. They busted their behinds, and they gave the fans exactly what they wanted.”

Several celebrities participated in panel discussions and fan Q&A sessions at Steel City Con.

Campbell talked about filming the first “Scream” movie and the impact the late director Wes Craven had on her career.

The main area of the convention center was wall-to-wall with vendors selling T-shirts, stickers, posters, and just about anything to do with movies, dramas, cartoons and video games.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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