ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – A new event for pop culture fans in the U.P. is planned for this upcoming Saturday. Bay College’s inaugural BAY-CON will feature 37+ vendors selling records, toys, collectibles, and more, as well as other activities over the course of the event.

BAY-CON will take place on Saturday, May 21, from 10am-4pm at Bay College in Escanaba in the Joseph Heirman University Center in room 952. The event is free to attend, though a donation of $2 is recommended for attendees aged 10 and older. The event is sponsored by Bay College Student Organizations and acts as a fundraiser for the organizations as well.

Organizers say BAY-CON will feature a vintage video gaming room and a video game tournament. A Zombie Lab run by Bay College EMT/Paramedic students, photo booth by Magpie Photography, and multiple educational sessions are also planned.

Cosplay is encouraged at the event. Additionally, t-shirt, posters, and hot popcorn will be for sale.

You can see a full list of events with corresponding times and room numbers in the following graphics. Food options will served by Wiles Food Services, Taco Kitchen Food Truck.

Parking is free at the event in lot A at Bay College’s campus. You can visit BAY-CON’s event page on Facebook here and follow Bay College on Facebook here.

We spoke with Dave Laur, Director of Student Life for Bay College. He said planning for Bay-Con has been years in the making.

“So Bay-Con started a few years back. One of the student groups here on campus called Gaming Galaxy talked about wanting to do some kind of pop culture event to bring lovers of video games, toys, all that kind of stuff here to campus. And so we started talking about it and planning it out. And then of course, the world shut down. And so we have things in a little bit better place. We started speaking about it again and had a chance to work with some other folks up at Marquette and down in Chicago, and bring forward this gathering of folks like myself who really enjoy video games, toys, card games, collectible games, board games, records, and just a place for all of us to gather to find some of those treasures that maybe we’re looking for or take us back to our own childhoods. And just have some fun dress up in costume if you want to take some pictures with you and your family,” said Laur.

Hosting the event at the college allows for what Laur called, “edutainment.” It’s also a way to showcase what the school offers.

“One of the big things we do here at the college, our mission is student success, community success and culture of success. And truly this event encapsulates all of those. The students who are going to be at the event who have helped plan it, are going to be benefiting from proceeds from it. Our community of success, we want to give back to the community that really gives us so much as a community college. And so having this type of an event right in the backyard where people can gather, have some fun video games or whatever it might be. And the culture of success and myself and others here at the college who enjoy this. This is really a bolster especially after the last couple of years which, I don’t care who you are, the last couple of years have been rough. And so finding something that has that joy and makes you feel like a kid again, is really priceless. And so this event really is something that it’s a big part of what we do at the college and wanting the community come on and experience Bay,” said Laur.

Dave Laur with Bay College shares some of favorite pop culture collectibles and memories with us.

He wants people to know that whatever pop culture you’re into, whether you want to wear a costume, or just show up, everyone is welcome.

“We want people to show up whether they’re a storm trooper or put on your elf ears or whatever that might be. And we also want to have a safe family friendly environment for everyone. And so there are some some stipulations with cosplay as far as if you have a play weapon or those type of things. We’ll have security at the door just making sure they’re checking that everybody’s good. And then just keeping in mind with your costume is a family friendly event, but we want to see your creative side.” Laur continued, “It’s also quite okay if you just want to put on a t-shirt, your favorite superhero and come in. My son, my oldest son Gavin is 10 and he spent some time here the day with construction paper making helmet and a sword. And that’s what he’s excited to wear to this and that’s awesome. So regardless of your your talent or what you might have to wear, we just want you there, and if you want to wear something or dress up or cosplay we would absolutely love to see it and get some pictures with you.”