Mini-Con - Bobby Sheldon & Tabitha Sheldon

Bobby Sheldon and Tabitha Sheldon pose for a photo at the Blount County Public Library in Maryville during Mini-Con 2018. The annual celebration returns Saturday.

The fifth installment of the Blount County Public Library Mini-Con is on task to be a large attraction featuring pop-culture themed activities and events. And this Saturday, the show will run in conjunction with the Friends of the Library Book Sale.

“It is a very big event on top of another very big event,” library Youth Services Specialist Chelsea Tarwater said. “We have emptied out the basement for the book sale with over 50,000 books available.”

Mini-Con offers costume contests, workshops, special presentations, LEGO-building stations, panels and vendors.

“We like having the Mini-Con every year because it offers things that other (pop-culture) events don’t,” Tarwater said. “The show is very family oriented, free, local and easy to get to. It is a great way for families to have a good afternoon of fun.”

There will be a section of the Mini-Con outside on the library grounds. The weather forecast calls for rain Saturday, yet Tarwater ensures the outside festivities will be covered — hypothetically and literally.

“We will have tents set up outside,” she said. “We plan to have everything move forward even if there is inclement weather.”

Knoxville-based Jupiter Entertainment, known for true-crime shows such as “Homicide Hunter” and “Snapped,” will have a program focusing on show production. The demonstration will be hosted by Jupiter’s props and wardrobe master Asya Mounger.

“We will highlight a couple areas of our production world,” Mounger said. “It is exciting to bring a (presentation) to our community which we rely on heavily for not only things like locations, but also community support and encouragement. We are looking forward to letting the community see behind the curtain a little bit, and show what it takes to bring (television shows) to life.”

Workshops will be available for children and will feature sonic screwdrivers, swords and comic drawing. Individuals interested in tools for wizardry can attend the Harry Potter Wand Making Workshop.

“Supplies are limited,” Tarwater said. “It starts at 1:30 p.m. and is first come, first served.”

Those seeking something different will find it in the form of the “paranormal honky-tonk” band known as The Spooky Ooos.

“We have had them at the library a few times in the past because they are really popular,” Tarwater said. “We had a survey at the Mini-Con last year, and they were one of the favorites.”

Movie screenings are also a hit at Mini-Con. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” will be shown at 12:30 p.m.

“The movie screenings always pack the crowd in,” Tarwater said. “It is a good way to slow things down and enjoy watching something (with your children).”

Self-described nerds will have several activities to choose from at Mini-Con. Nerdy Team Trivia, consisting of trivia from various fandom genres, also will be held at 12:30 p.m. The Maryville Rock Academy will host Nerdy Karaoke at 1:30 p.m. in the Children’s Department.

The Knoxville Academy of the Blade has been a highlight at Mini-Con since the beginning in 2015. The Academy of the Blade will offer fencing demonstrations throughout the day in the reading rotunda. Comic book fans can go to a panel with Neil and Robyn McCammon, who will discuss their horror comic series “Don’t Fear Dawn.”

Mini-Con will conclude with the Next Great Hero Contest, followed by the cosplay competition.

“The Next Great Hero Contest (gives) children the chance to create and draw their own super hero,” Tarwater said. “We judge the contest Saturday based on creativity. Every child will get a prize, but the big prizes will go to the (top winners). The cosplay contest will be the finale of Mini-Con. The contest is divided into the categories of kids, teens, adults and best cosplay overall.”

Steve Wildsmith was an editor and writer for The Daily Times for nearly 17 years; a recovering addict, he now works in media and marketing for Cornerstone of Recovery, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Blount County. Contact him at

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