"It's been many years even pre-COVID, Since we had full sell-out days. That was extremely exciting!"
That was Alex Kingcott, Public Relations for Calgary Expo, reaction to the news that some days during the four-day festivities of Fandom and Culture were sold out.
The annual gathering of fans from across Calgary, and Alberta had Kingcott overwhelmed, "This has been an incredible weekend. We've been really sort of overwhelmed with how enthusiastic the fans have been, we know to expect that, obviously.
"And it's why we do it. But this has been an incredible turnout," She added.
Fandom has a unique ability to bring people together Kingcott stated, "The entire world is looking for safe places to celebrate what brings us together and that's what Calgary Expo is and always has been and the fact that the word is getting out about that and more people are feeling included in this world has been really lovely."
With big names like, Hayden Christiansen (Star Wars, Life is a House) Bonnie Wright (Harry Potter Series), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek), James McAvoy (X-men) David Harbour (HellBoy, Stranger Things), Kingcott says that the changing landscape in the Calgary Film and Television industry has helped in attracting big names to the show.
"The Calgary creative community has attracted incredible talent," Kingcott stated. She said that with the filming of HBO's The Last of Us, and Ghostbusters it has but Calgary and Southern Alberta. "I think it helps our case when we approach people like Andy Serkis and David Harbour to say, 'Hey! Do you want to come to Western Canada. We promise we have amazing fans!'
"They know Calgary, they're familiar with our creative community, they're excited to come here that's made a big difference," She stated. "The success of Calgary, the word has spread in the industry, it's made a big difference."
As the Expo has come to a close, work on the 2024 Calgary Expo has begun, Kingcott even alluded to the fact conversations were happening while attendees were taking in this year's festivities.
"Well, tickets go on sale today for next year," Kingcott said with a smirk. "To be honest, there are conversations happening today about what we loved and what worked well and how we want to make it even better for next year."
With 2023 fresh in their minds, the future of the Calgary Expo is always in Kingcott's head, "I think (2024) will be our last year in this layout because we are going to be anticipating 2025 in a whole new centre.
"So next year will be a hopefully bigger and better version of what everybody loved this year and then the year after that the possibilities are endless."