This week libraries throughout the area will be celebrating Central Alberta Fan Fest. The libraries will have programming featuring and celebrating manga, anime, comic books, and everyone’s favourite fandoms.

“Central Alberta Fan Fest is a local comic book, anime, fantasy, and sci-fi convention that initially started at the Ponoka Jubilee Library in 2019. We have an anime, manga club full of very passionate people. Most of them are actually over the age of 18. They're adults and they just love everything ‘geekdom’. They weren't always able to get to the bigger cons in Calgary and Edmonton so, they asked in 2019 that we could try to set one up here in Ponoka. We did so to great success. We had some guest speakers. We had a cosplay contest.  It was a lot of fun,” said Cynthia Bottomley, Library Clerk at the Ponoka Jubilee Library who is also an organizer for Central Alberta Fan Fest.

Libraries in communities such as Blackfalds, Camrose, Lacombe, and Sylvan Lake will also be participating in this year’s online event. The 2020 Fan Fest was cancelled due to COVID-19 but this year several events will be operating for free through Zoom and online links. People will be able to take part in online presentation, crafts, games, and meet some local creators. Special guests this year include Sierra Larson and Kyle Charles who will be available for information, demonstrations, and Q&A’s.

“Kyle Charles he is a celebrated indigenous comic book artist that's based out of Edmonton, he has done work I believe for some of the major comic book publishers in the industry. 

As well as he has done work for a very well put together anthology graphic novel called ‘This Place.’ I would highly recommend patrons to pick up a copy of that graphic novel. It's really interesting and very beautifully illustrated, and all of our libraries have it. You should definitely check that out. For that evening,” said Bottomley.

“We do have another guest speaker, Sierra Larson on Thursday. She's going to be doing a podcast 101. She is also at a local author and podcaster from Edmonton, and she's a really great speaker, so I would highly recommend folks check that out,” Bottomley added.

Photo from fan Fest 2019 courtesy of Cynthia Bottomley.

Bottomley says the events are catered more towards teenagers and older. Children are not able to join in the cosplay events but they are welcome to join the viewing parties, playing Pokemon GO!, or craft nights.

Additionally, if you are a photographer, artist, comic book creator, or writer, you will also have the opportunity to be published.

“We are putting together a publication of artwork and creative work submitted from anyone of any age in central Alberta. It's kind of going to be like a catalog of things that happen during the week as well as local creations. We have some children that have submitted comic book posts and so each library is going to get a published book once we're finished. They can definitely submit creative works or whatever they would like to the,” explained Bottomley.

For more information on Central Alberta Fan Fest, you can click here.