Toying Around Block Party brings pop culture fans to Johnstown – The Daily Gazette

A friendly life-size statue of Spider-Man standing on the side of West Main Street outside the collectible Toying Around has become a symbol of downtown Johnstown’s small business center, but the statue on Saturday was just one of at least five different Marvel wall crawlers. You’re patrolling that area for Toying Around Block Party 3rd Edition.

One of the people who wore the Spider-Man costume was Andrew Raichel, a native of Amsterdam and a Fulton Montgomery Community College student, whose version was the costume that Andrew Garfield wore in the 2012 movie “The Amazing Spider-Man.” He said he wore the suit to indoor air-conditioned comic book conferences, but he didn’t wear it outside in the 80-degree July heat.

“I’ve dressed up as Spider-Man a few times, but not in public,” Bean said taking pictures with party attendees. “It’s just fun. The suit is so hot, but I don’t really care. I’m glad to be here.”

Toying Around Block Party was first organized by Vincent McCallum, owner of Toying Around in 2018 as a way to celebrate his remaining open store, working in toys, games, comic books, and highly specialized pop culture merchandise. He said his event grew to include two city blocks in 2019, but was then closed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Saturday, McCallum had more than 90 vendors in downtown Johnstown, including local non-pop culture businesses in Fulton County such as Johnstown’s Vintage Cafe, Wemple & Edick’s ice cream, Studio Herbage and Great Sacandaga Brewing Co.

McCallum said his niche business has continued to thrive thanks to long-term lease agreements and his dedication to appearing at pop culture fan events and conventions. He said his ability to bring those events to Jonestown is his way of giving back.

“I would say we may have tripled our attendance from last time,” McCallum said on Saturday. “We also have a good, eclectic variety of vendors compared to last time, because we wanted to make sure there was something for everyone.”

Toying Around Block Party featured a costume contest, a giant Star Wars-themed bounce house from Amsterdam-based Kiehl’s Bounce Rentals, and photo opportunities for people who wanted to capture screen-resolution images of – or at least screen-like – iconic vehicles from movies and TV shows like KITT from Knight Rider”, a Jurassic Park car, and a DeLorean sports car as the one Marty McFly drove in “Back to the Future”.

Johnstown School District fourth grader Ivy Gotobed ​​won the Under-18 portion of the costume competition, wearing the homemade Orko “Masters of the Universe” costume her father created.

She said her father made her watch all the different versions of the He-Man cartoon, which recurred in the 80s and 2000s and a couple of recent animated shows on Netflix. She said animation performances gave her to Orko, an often incompetent magician.

“He’s my favorite character,” said Ivy. “If he was a real person, he would be more than my best friend — he would be like a brother to me. I love Orco, because he is so idiot.”

She said her father’s ability to create costumes came from his love for themed paintball courses where he often wears his Captain America costume.

“It was my first time going to one of these, and it was the first time I had ever won anything,” she said, holding her glass.

One of the vendors at the group party “Retrogamecon” was a company that hosts similar pop culture-style events, with a particular focus on retro video games and tabletop role-playing games. Toying Around Block Party created Johnstown as a hub for pop culture fans located between Syracuse and Albany, said Nathan Grant, who ran the Retrogamecon table. The attractiveness of events explained.

“It’s important for us to do events like this where we can sort of run into similar crowds who love the same kind of thing, because there’s a lot of crossover between people who love comic books, old Star Trek stuff, who love Star Wars, who love Star Wars,” Grant said. Marvel, and who loves old video games.”

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