Bendigo Record, Comic & Toy Fair

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Bendigo Record, Comic & Toy Fair

For all your pop culture fandom, cosplay antics and collectible records and items in regional Victoria, look no further than the Bendigo Record, Comic & Toy Fair, run by Peter Pascoe.

Hi Peter, thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte, how are you and what are you up to at the moment? 

Balancing work and getting the next fair up and running, and squeezing in a Valentine’s Day movie in between the madness.  My wife dragged me along to see Zoolander 2, and I dragged her along to see Deadpool – Deadpool was very romantic.
Last time we spoke you were gearing up for your last event and it had the cosplay contest as a first, how did the competition and the event in general go?

The event overall was the most successful one to date.  We had just shy of 1,200 paying folk through the door, and somewhere near 2,000 people all up.  As we don’t keep a tally of the under 14s (who get in for free).  But, roughly speaking, the event doubled in size and attendance. There were 35 [cosplay contest] entrants and several hundred people watching and supporting the contest.  I underestimated the popularity, which was a pleasant surprise!
We saw you’re doing the competition again this year, what would you say to encourage people to get a costume together and get involved? 

Any excuse to get a costume together and cosplay in a local event is a good one. The quality of costumes at the last event really opened my eyes to the cosplaying talent that’s out there.  It’s a great community to get involved with, the registration fee goes directly to charity. But at the end of the day, being able to participate in a little pop-culture madness, and stepping outside of yourself for the day is a reward unto itself!

The competition does donate to the Peter MacCallum Centre, did you meet last year’s goal/do you know how it was used at the centre?

There was no goal as such, as it was the first time to donate to a major charity, but with a combined total raised of over $600 for both Peter Mac and the Bendigo Radiotherapy Foundation, that now becomes our goal to beat for this event.  Peter Mac didn’t provide me with details about how the money was used, but having had a family member survive a cancer scare, we have seen first-hand the care Peter Mac provide their patients.  As part of the appreciation letter I received from Peter Mac, they advised me that the funds we raised will help provide their researchers with state-of-the-art tools and specialised equipment needed to increase their knowledge of how to fight cancer. I was fortunate enough to have been offered a tour of the Bendigo Radiotherapy wing as part of the fundraising for them, and I was given a very detailed Summary of Distributions from the foundation which included student bursaries, equipment and staff education, patient transport vehicles and operational costs of the foundation.

What kind of other entertainment can attendees expect? 

There will be a few more fangroups in attendance this March.  In addition to the Star Wars groups we had last September. The newly-formed Bendigo Whovians Society will be making their presence felt, along with the Bendigo Area Lego Designers and the Bendigo Swordcraft LARPers.  The Artists Alley is back, with artists selling and signing their original comics and artwork for interested folk.  And, of course, the Mascot Mates Funzone will be back with face-painting, kids activities and Iron Man and Spider-man in attendance.
From the first event you created to now, has the drive behind putting the fair on changed at all?

The success has kept my drive going.  The first event back in 2014 was a bit of a roll of the dice and testing the waters as far as putting an event like this together.  The turnout even for that first event, given that it came out of the blue, was very encouraging, and that gave me a bit more licence to add elements that I would like to have seen, which I’ve been somewhat successful at doing.  There are still more ideas I’d like to implement, but getting people together and making things happen, then seeing people come and join in the fun on the day is a great thing for my motivation!


Thanks again for taking the time to chat with Forte, is there anything else you’d like to add before we finish up?

Have your wish-lists up to date!  And get cracking on those costumes!

Image: Rhett Leech

When & Where: Bendigo Exhibition Centre (Prince of Wales Showgrounds), Bendigo – March 13