On Saturday September 17th, over twenty-one actors, including Stephen Amell, John Barrowman, and David Ramsey of Arrow, and Melissa McBride and Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead, as well as many more volunteers, will give their time to create a one-day Fan Fest event you don't want to miss. The best part? One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to One Orlando to help the families of victims of the Orlando shootings.
I asked Jackie Prutsman, the Vice President of Operations of Fan Fest as well as an Orlando native, about how this particular convention came to be. She explained via email,
Like millions across the country, the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse left many on our team asking what we could do to help. Nearly a quarter of our staff have called Orlando home, so the pain was personal. We thought we could help in the best way we know how, by bringing people together. So we reached out to the Walker Stalker guests we've worked with for years now and many agreed right away.
Walker Stalker Con is an immersive experience for fans of The Walking Dead, and conferences are held at major cities around the world, including Nashville, San Francisco, and London. In 2017, the Walker Stalker Cruise sets sail from Miami!
Ms. Prutsman continued,
When Stephen Amell, star of The CW's 'Arrow' and co-founder of our second brand, Heroes and Villains Fan Fest, heard the news, he immediately asked how he could help. At that point we knew that a joint event, a true "Fan Fest" was the best way to raise the most funds.
Just over three months will have passed since the horrific shooting at Pulse when Fan Fest takes place on September 17. This convention has come together so quickly because everyone wanted to help. People want to be a part of this charity event that would help a hurting community.
According to Ms. Prutsman, events like these normally take at least 12 months to plan, but Orange County Convention Center found an open date on their packed calendar in less than 24 hours. With Celeb Photo Ops donating their staff time and services and celebrity guests hopping on red-eye flights to fit this into their cram-packed schedules, Fan Fest Orlando has unfolded in a whirl of activity.
...the support of our "extended family" have truly made Fan Fest Orlando possible.
Though Ms. Prutsman will run operations for nearly twenty conventions this year in the United States and Europe, Fan Fest Orlando means more to her than any other event she's ever done.
I grew up in Orlando and lived there until just last year, and this attack felt so personal. It hurt many people I care about as well as the hometown that I love dearly. We all felt the overwhelming need to help and are humbled to have our incredible actors and partners lean in to make this event possible.
Along with photo opportunities and autographs, fans will have a chance to attend Q&A sessions with their favorite actors. Ms. Prutsman hopes fans will take pride in the knowledge that the funds raised on September 17th will create safe spaces and expand resources and support for the Orlando Community.
Fan Fest Orlando hopes to raise at least half a million dollars for Orlando on September 17th! The one-day event is scheduled for 10:30am to 8:00pm EST, plenty of time for everyone to see your new costume.
Tickets are on sale now and will also be available on September 17th at the door! While you're making new friends, you're giving back! And it gives you one more reason to love the actors on your favorite shows and to see what true humanity looks like.
The Details You Need To Know About Fan Fest Orlando
- Orange County Convention Center
- Saturday, September 17, 2016
- 10:30am to 8:00pm; VIP Entry at 9:00am.
- Tickets range from $55 General Admission to $800 for the Platinum VIP experience
- Website: www.fanfest.com/orlando
- Twitter: @fanfestnews
- Official Hashtag: #FanFestOrlando