Thousands of fans join stars in POW! Parade of Wonders as Calgary Expo officially kicks off

Thousands of cosplayers and spectators packed into Calgary's core Friday morning for the seventh annual POW! Parade of Wonders.

Annual cosplay walk down Stephen Avenue marks start of comic book and pop culture festival

Ursula, decked with her eels, struts down Stephen Avenue in Calgary as part of the seventh annual Parade of Wonders. (CBC)

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.

This wookie, who marched along with the 501st Legion, was one of the tallest entrants in the parade. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

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.

Sean Astin points out a costume in the crowd at the Parade of Wonders in downtown Calgary on Friday. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

"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."

The seventh annual POW! Parade of Wonders makes its way eastward down Stephen Avenue on Friday. (Sabri Shawa)

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.

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. 

J. Jonah Jameson demanded pictures of Spider-man for the Daily Bugle. (Justin Pennell/CBC)
Watch out, Miss Universe — these two pageant girls from the Vulcan and Klingon homeworlds may be here to snatch your crown. (Justin Pennell/CBC)
Beetlejuice or Wolverine? Why not both! (Justin Pennell/CBC)
Some cosplayers were better prepared for Calgary weather than others (when in doubt, choose furs over spandex). (Justin Pennell/CBC)
More than 5,000 cosplayers participated in the POW! Parade of Wonders. (Justin Pennell/CBC)
Thousands of fans joined the POW! Parade of Wonders as Calgary Expo officially kicked off on Friday. (CBC)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?