This past weekend, Barre was home to the Green Mountain Comic Expo — an event billed as a more intimate version of the larger Vermont Comic Con that’s been running up in South Burlington the last couple of years. It’s clear that this is a bit of a test, and it seems as though Barre passed with flying colors, because the conventions’ organizers announced that they would be moving the main Vermont Comic Con to Barre in 2018.
Held in the Barre Civic center on Saturday and Sunday, the event had a bit of a festival-like atmosphere. There were a wide variety of comic book artists, authors, cosplayers, and vendors selling their goods, and a fairly steady stream of visitors picking their way through the narrow aisles. I was there with the 501st’s Green Mountain Squad, and we had a decent number of people stop by to check out our display of helmets, and pose for pictures.
The entire event was a fun weekend, but the impending move of Vermont Comic Con from the much larger Burlington area to central Vermont is interesting. It seems that there’s a couple of things at play here: Barre’s facilities are certainly cheaper than South Burlington’s Sheraton conference center, and a bit more flexible with dates. The 2018 show will go back to September, rather than August. But the tradeoff means that it’ll take place in Barre. The facilities aren’t quite as nice, there’s no on-site lodging that most mid-level and major cons really require, and it’s a bit more off the beaten path than South Burlington. So, we’ll see how that works out. Hopefully, they’ll be able to work in more local businesses, artists, authors, and organizations that populate the area, and will continue to grow the event in the coming years.