There are many qualities that dictate what makes a convention or how to successfully define it in cultural norms. A convention typically has a vendors area, programming (either in a room or a stage), celebrity quests, and a costume contest just as a start. However, that definition isn’t an exact science but more of a suggested theme and that’s where the St. Tammany Collectors Con comes into play.
The event that started as a simple toy and collectible trade show has become something of a unique work. It combines all of the looks and feels of a convention in a compact size. Owner Ben Robert and his team have done an incredible job of doing what is often impossible, start a convention. In a time when we hear about conventions failing after the first year, Ben has given us a clinic on how it can be done.
This event is broken into two separate events; one in the Spring and the other in the Fall. This year’s Spring event expanded into a 2 day event giving attendees a better opportunity to explore the convention. Celebrity guests Matthew Wood (Star Wars: The Mandalorian) and Austin St. John (Power Rangers) were just two of the guests participating in the show with some local guests also attending.
The convention is held at the Castine Center, a 28,000 sqft facility in Mandeville, Louisiana. It offers an impressive setup for the many vendors and artists on display. While the facility may seem large, the convention has already outgrown the center and it may be time to explore other options for hosting the show.
The one area I was impressed with was the amount of vendors and the quality of merchandise offered. Many times, when I go to a convention, the majority of vendors are selling POP figures. While some had this, seeing the variety of merchandise was very pleasant. In 2022, Eric LeBlanc and I participated as a vendor to sell off some of our old collectibles.
The entire St. Tammany Collectors Con experience was a great one from arrival to departure. Seeing the effort of the staff along with the positive vibes throughout make this one of our favorite events to attend. While true, this may not be considered a traditional convention; they have made great efforts in moving towards this as an option. Not so bad for an event that started as toy show in a small hotel conference room. Find out more about the convention here.