The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 4, 2012

N.E. Geek Expo returns to Ashtabula County Fairgrounds

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Colorfully adorned comic book characters watched attentively as Renaissance sword fighters applied their craft Saturday afternoon melding two worlds during the second edition of N.E. Geek Expo at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds.

Many worlds ran together as science fiction, comic books, Vikings and literature all were represented well Saturday

Emily Shilts and Brittany Barnabei, both of the Pittsburgh area, came all the way to Ohio to check out the unique event.

“It seems nice,” said Shilts while dressed in a white suit and white top hat. She said friends from Erie invited them to meet at the expo.

“We are trying to bring something fun to the community,” said Mark Levis, one of the event organizers. He said the annual event provides a place for people from Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania to gather and experience a variety of hobbies.

“We don’t really have a place to get together,” Levis said.

Three members of the Fellowship of the Open Blade, based in Cleveland, demonstrated a variety of sword fighting techniques dressed in Renaissance garb.

Levis said the group promoted the event more widely and were excited about the attendance that included babies dressed as Vikings and adults dressed like many varied creatures.

Levis said discussion groups were a new addition to N.E. Geek Expo with a panel discussing the origins of the event and thinking about new avenues for the future.

A comic book museum, writer’s organization and a photo booth creating comic book portraits were all a big part of the expo.

“We also have a theatrical troupe,” Levis said.

Fans surrounded the sword fighting area as different members of the group described the period dress and the type of fighting style being demonstrated at the time.

A fire breathing seminar and martial arts demonstrations also highlighted the event.

Children had a chance to enter a costume contest and enjoy a variety of games.

“It’s fun. It’s a good time,” said Brian Piorkowski while dressed identically to his six-year-old son Xavier. The Piorkowski’s made the drive all the way from Canal Fulton to support friends involved in organizing the event.

April Forbes, of Ashtabula, recently attended the Mid Ohio Comicon in the Columbus area with her boyfriend and decided to bring the kids to the local show.

“We love it. We came last year and we wanted to come back again,” she said.

Levis said the organization tries to keep the different entities united throughout the year with a large presence on Facebook at Facebook.com/NEGEEKEXPO.