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Comicopolis takes over Lockport library

For one day, the force was with hundreds of festival-goers Saturday, Aug. 5, as they invaded the White Oak Library Lockport Branch for the third annual Comicopolis event.

The event aims to lure in fanatics from the across the area to celebrate comic books and fantasy culture.

“I think it fulfills our mission to be able to offer [and] expose people to different experiences,” said Patricia Jarog, the White Oak Library’s Lockport branch manager. “The whole graphic novel world and writing and beautiful art and artists—I think we are supporting that. You know, the stories of the superheroes are part of our culture, really, and we can celebrate that.”

From selling Harry Potter wands to original Badger comic paintings, roughly 40 exhibitors were on hand both inside and outside of the library to engage festival-goers.

“Last year, we had just over 1,000 [attendees,]” Jarog said. “The first year, we had 800. We’re hoping for more this year—hopefully, like 1,200, or a 20 percent increase.”

Jarog said she thinks the event does a wonderful job of bringing together residents and nonresidents alike.

“First of all, it’s free,” Jarog said. “That’s huge. It’s local for a lot of people. There aren’t many comic book festivals in the southwest suburbs.”

On the stage, entertainment was provided by School of Rock Mokena, Taft School Summer Band, The Limestone Stage, Quarried Away Improv and a costume contest.

Estella Rodriguez, of Lockport, said she and her family come out to the festival every year.

“We are into superheroes,” she said. “We love going to the movies to see the Marvel, the DC, Star Wars [films.]”

Estella’s 11-year-old daughter, Lola Rodriguez, said her favorite part of Comicopolis is dressing up.

The festival’s ability to capture the essence and imaginations of graphic novel fanatics from across the area is formidable, Estella said.

“I think it joins not only the family together but the community together, and you know, it puts [Lockport] on the map for something,” Estella said.

Outside on the black top, people enjoyed photo opportunities with Crosstown Exotics’ turtles, food trucks and a beer garden.

Elisabeth Mead, 12, of Lockport, was roaming the grounds of Comicopolis with her friend Elly Pryor.

“I like seeing all the different costumes, and I also like seeing everything that everyone made,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

Mead said she is glad they decided to drop in.

“Me and her are both really big nerds, and I went last year and had a lot of fun,” she said. “I decided to go this year.”

Mead came dressed in costume as a member of Ravenclaw, one of the houses in the Harry Potter book series.

“I’m pretty clever and good at solving problems,” she said, referring to why her costume is the perfect fit.

Mead said she considers herself to be a big fan of Harry Potter.

“I haven’t finished reading all the books yet, but I’m on my way,” she said.

Elsewhere, festival-goers competed in the Harry Potter Tri-Wizard Tournament.

There, Sarah Hentchel was watching as attendees competed.

“We drove a little over an hour and a half to get here,” she said.

Hentchel said she is glad she and her children decided to attend Comicopolis.

“It’s been great,” she said. “They had a scavenger hunt. The kids got to dress in their costumes, and they’re going to do a costume contest later. So they’re having a good time.”

The festival does a good job of bringing families together, Hentchel added.

“We bonded over making the costumes,” she said, noting that all four of them dressed up as characters from “Adventure Time,” “Teen Titans Go!” and “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir.

Hentchel said the reason festivals, like Comicopolis, are so popular is easy to pinpoint.

“It’s good, clean fun,” she said. “Everybody’s very welcoming.”

On the sidewalk, people were greeted with souvenir sales, as well as a live broadcast organized by radio station staff from the University of St. Francis.

Roaming the grounds of Comicopolis was a stormtrooper, one of the many characters from the Star Wars franchise.

Another fun activity for those roaming the festival was the chance for people to try their hand at winning instant prize drawings.

Comicopolis was made possible thanks to the White Oak Library District in partnership with Amazing Fantasy Books & Comics and the Lockport Summer Art Series.

For those curious about next year’s event, the White Oak Library District already set a date for the 2018 Comicopolis.

“And, we have a date for next year, [the] first Saturday in August,” Jarog said. “That would be Aug. 4.”


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