Thousands of fans join stars in POW! Parade of Wonders as Calgary Expo officially kicks off
Annual cosplay walk down Stephen Avenue marks start of comic book and pop culture festival
Thousands of cosplayers and spectators packed into Calgary's core Friday morning for the seventh annual POW! Parade of Wonders.
The parade officially kicks off the fourteenth annual Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo, which started Thursday and runs until Sunday night.
- Watch the full parade on CBC Calgary's Facebook Live, including interviews with Expo star guests like Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings, The Goonies, Stranger Things) and Patricia Summersett (The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild video game).
Organizers say just over 5,000 cosplayer took part in the parade, and they counted more than 15,500 spectators along the route.
About 90,000 or more fans are expected to attend the four-day celebration of comics, gaming, anime, horror, fantasy, sci-fi and more.
Last year, the event drew 95,000 people.
Star guests at this year's Expo include Michael J. Fox and castmates from Back to the Future, Zachary Levi and castmates from the hit film Shazam!, Christina Ricci, Pamela Anderson, Sean Astin and castmates from The Goonies; plus favourites from shows like Vampire Diaries, Smallville, Star Trek: Discovery, and more.
CBC Calgary's Sarah Rieger, who was hosting a Facebook Live of the parade, caught up with Astin along the route.
"I can't believe this parade! We didn't even have to win a war to have this parade!" said Astin, who played beloved hobbit Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings series, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies and Bob Newby in the second season of Stranger Things.
"Unbelievable!" said Astin, who was riding in the parade in an open convertible.
Another star, Patricia Summersett, who does the voice of Princess Zelda in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild videogame, was also smiling in the parade.
"I've seen some wonderful Princess Zeldas."
Special events include an evening with the Back to the Future cast — Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Tom Wilson, Lea Thompson and James Tolkan — on Friday night.
Calgary Expo takes place at Stampede Park in the Big Four Building and the BMO Centre.
There will be more than 700 vendors and artists.
.<a href="https://twitter.com/ansonmount?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ansonmount</a> at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/POWParade?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#POWParade</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IAMDOWNTOWN?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IAMDOWNTOWN</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CALGARYEXPO?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CALGARYEXPO</a> <a href="https://t.co/FeRDUHuT3g">pic.twitter.com/FeRDUHuT3g</a>—@Calgaryexpo
There's a new badge system for the first time, eliminating wristbands, and attendees will only be able to get into BMO Centre at three entrances: The Corral, Hall C, and Hall D.
On-site and online tickets sales are available for all days. Kids aged 5 and under can attend for free with a ticket-holding adult.