Natalie Chimelir of Juneau’s Imagination Station paints someone’s face at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Natalie Chimelir of Juneau’s Imagination Station paints someone’s face at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

‘A very nerdy town’: Mini-Con breeds creativity for those near and far

Locals, out-of-staters mesh at annual Alaska Robotics Mini-Con

Dik Pose shook his head as Justinian Sutton’s creation came to life.

“That’s so smart,” Pose murmured. “That’s so funny.”

Sutton, 10, had put together a stop-action movie (about rescuers trying to save people from a fire) with the help of Pose, a storyboard artist who has worked on shows such as “Big Mouth” and “Disenchantment.” Sutton has made stop-motion videos at home and left Pose and others impressed.

The stop-motion movie workshop was one of many options for attendees young and old at this past weekend’s Alaska Robotics Mini-Con. The event included more than 60 artists and vendors who taught, presented, sold their work and chatted with attendees passing through.

[Photos: Mini-Con brings together comics fans young and old]

Natalie Chimelir, who works at Juneau’s Imagination Station, has been at every Mini-Con. Dressed as Pikachu, Chimelir painted faces and bonded with attendees. She said the event allows them another chance to interact with community members, and the event gives people a reason to come from all corners of town and embrace their inner nerd.

“It’s a very nerdy town,” Chimelir said. “This town loves games. That’s why we have (board and card game event) Platypus Con. I think it’s so great that we can have something like this here because a lot of us don’t get to travel to Anchorage or Seattle for the bigger comic conventions.”

Dik Pose, right, and others celebrate the completion of a stop-motion movie by Justinian Sutton, left, at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Dik Pose, right, and others celebrate the completion of a stop-motion movie by Justinian Sutton, left, at the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Part of the fun of the event, organizer and Alaska Robotics owner Pat Race said, is seeing locals set up next to people who come from all over the country. Michael Grover, for example, came up from Tampa, Florida, to participate and to show off his comics. Grover said he visited two years ago when he lived in Utah, and wanted to come up for it again even after moving to the opposite end of the country.

The three-day event included events and presentations all around downtown, and Grover said he was impressed to see many of the same faces from day to day.

“It’s cool that the people here seem committed,” Grover said. “They’re coming to multiple events in one weekend and seem really excited about everything.”

[Juneau drag heads to national stage]

The main event took place at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Saturday, where hundreds of attendees streamed through and looked at books, zines, artwork and ate Coppa ice cream. Some were dressed as their favorite fictional characters. Race said the event typically draws between 800 and 1,000 people, and as of 2:30 p.m. Saturday, those working the front table at the JACC had counted 825.

Even as hundreds of people attend, the event still has an intimate feel — just like the town itself, Chimelir said.

“We’re a small town,” Chimelir said, “and a lot of us are like family.”

Attendees stream through the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)

Attendees stream through the Alaska Robotics Mini-Con on Saturday, April 27, 2019. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire)


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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