GalaxyCon Raleigh 2022: Special guests, tickets, details

Pop culture buffs of Raleigh, grab your autograph book and rejoice. The fifth annual GalaxyCon is coming to the Raleigh Convention center this weekend.

From July 28 to July 31, the Raleigh Convention Center will be packed with celebrities near and dear to fans of gaming, wrestling, science fiction and more. Toting props and quoting lines, attendees will hear from celebrities like Grace Van Dien (“Stranger Things,”), Giancarlo Esposito (“The Mandalorian,” “The Boys” and “Better Call Saul”), Richard Dreyfuss (“Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (“Saved by the Bell,” “Mixed-ish”) plus cast members of the Superman prequel series “Smallville” and the cult classic buddy comedy “Clerks.”

The festival did not run in person in 2020.

All of the festival’s beloved games and tournaments, including tablet and video game spaces, will be back in 2022. The city of Raleigh still encourages patrons to wear masks indoors.

Here’s what to know before you go. For more information and a full guest lineup, check out galaxycon.com.

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Kevin Smith, left, and William Shatner participate in the Masters of the Universe panel on day one of Comic-Con International on Thursday, July 21, 2022, in San Diego. Both Smith and Shatner will take part in GalaxyCon in Raleigh. Richard Shotwell Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

About GalaxyCon

GalaxyCon brings together fandoms celebrating movies, TV shows, video games and pop culture and science fiction empires for four days of activities and meet-and-greets with their favorite stars. Actors, voice actors, wrestlers, cosplayers, streamers and creators are in attendance, and fans can pay for face time with their favorites, alongside an array of props and merchandise.

The event first came to Raleigh in 2017 and also travels to Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Va. Some comic books for sale are Raleigh exclusives, including an exclusive version of the first volume of “The Mandalorian” and two alternate covers for one year of “Vampirella.”

What to see at GalaxyCon

The festival is based around celebrity appearances, which range from shows and panels to photo ops. There will also be costume contests for guests, as well as exhibits of iconic pop culture props and costumes. This year, gaming — both digital and tablet — and Fantasy Super Cosplay Wrestling are also back.

Most exhibitors, artists and vendors will be stationed at tables on the bottom floor of the convention hall.

The second-floor mezzanine will play host to a kids’ zone and a VIP lounge, while the main stage and the wrestling arena will be on the 400-level top floor.

Many of GalaxyCon’s main events will be spread around the 300-level floor, including a cosplay zone and areas dedicated to Star Wars and superheroes.

Check out the full booth list and map here.

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Giancarlo Esposito in a scene from “The Mandalorian.” The star of “Breaking Bad” and “The Mandalorian” is set to appear at GalaxyCon in Raleigh. Disney+ AP

Guests scheduled to attend

As of July 27, over 120 celebrities, voice actors, cosplayers, wrestlers, writers and creators are signed up to attend GalaxyCon. Note that schedules are subject to change (we’re still watching COVID-19), and there could be last-minute cancellations.

Celebrities will include Brendan Fraser, Kevin Smith, Katee Sackhoff, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Brent Spiner, Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Michael Rosenbaum, Paul Williams, Kat Barrell, Emily Andras, Patrick Warburton, Terry Farrell, Andy Robinson, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson, Brian O’Halloran, Trevor Fehrman, Sean Gunn, Barry Bostwick and Kevin Clash.

Voice actors will include Tara Strong, Ashley Eckstein, Matt Lanter, James Arnold Taylor, Linda Larkin, Cristina Vee, Dan Green, Margaret Kerry, Phillip Glasser, Carlos Ferro, Dana Snyder, Jen Taylor, Steve Downes, Natalie Van Sistine, Megan Shipman, Brandon McInnis, Brittany Karbowski, and J. Michael Tatum.

Featured cosplayers will include Jean Wanwan, HoneyRabbiit, Witchy Brew, Danielle Denicola, Sky Gets Fancy, Silver Heart Cosplay, Oh My Sophii, Handsome Jordan and Morgan Le Foy.

How do I meet the celebrities?

Every featured artist and performer has their own rates for autographs, photo ops, or combinations of the two, ranging from about $30 to $60. Rates are listed on each individual profile on the GalaxyCon website.

Some celebs have special regulations. For example, Shatner, Sackhoff and voice actress Tara Strong won’t accept credit cards at their booths. Plus, some, including Shatner, may not be there all four days. To make sure you see who you want to see, and look up your favorites before you go. Shatner will only be there Sunday. Esposito, on the other hand, is there Thursday to Sunday.

Get up close for an autograph with Shatner for $120, or a photo for $130. Have Saturday morning coffee with Scott Patterson from “Gilmore Girls” for $250. Some events combine photo ops, seating and exclusive merch based around one actor or show, like the $600 “Clerks experience package,” complete with cast autographs.

A table selfie with Esposito will cost $60, which goes up to $120 if you throw in an autograph. An autograph/selfie with Gosselaar is $80 while a photo op is $60. Brendan Fraser will charge $80 for an autograph and $90 for a professional photo, while the Kevin Smith Autograph Experience runs $75.

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Katee Sackhoff is shown in a scene from “Battlestar Galactica.” AP

Virtual options

There is an option to attend GalaxyCon virtually, and some livestreamed Q&As are free. After you register, the link for each livestream will be sent out one hour prior to start.

You can also pay for celebrity meet-and-greets via livestream, and in some cases, take a webcam selfie or mail in items to be autographed.

Celebrities offering these virtual one-on-ones include Giancarlo Esposito, Kat Barrell, Emily Andras and the cast of “Smallville.” Personal video chats are two minutes long and rates vary by celebrity, with many running over $100.

Hours

The exhibition hall will be open from 2 pm to 8 pm on Thursday; 10 am to 8 pm on Friday and Saturday; and 10 am to 6 pm on Sunday. Some events will run longer, with programming until midnight on Thursday; 12:30 am on Friday; 1:30 am on Saturday; and 7 pm on Sunday.

These off-hours events include karaoke, comedy shows, cosplay meetups, open mics and even a rave. Check out the full event schedule here.

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A group of friends walks towards the Raleigh Convention Center for GalaxyCon on Thursday, July 29, 2021. Julia Wall jwall@newsobserver.com

COVID regulations and accessibility

The Raleigh Convention center is ADA-compliant. Guests with service dogs can access the fast lane at photo and autograph lines with a Fast Pass Button from the convention’s information booth.

GalaxyCon has partnered with NC Mobility to provide some scooters and wheelchairs for rent. However, wheels associated with costumes, including bicycles and roller blades, are banned.

The festival will not repeat its social distancing restrictions from 2021, though the city of Raleigh still encourages residents and visitors to wear masks in indoor spaces.

Weapons are banned, as are prop weapons unless they’re made out of a lightweight material like cardboard or foam. If you bring a prop weapon, you must get a tag at the prop check table or you may be denied entry. If you buy a prop weapon, you must leave it at the booth and come back to pick it up at the end of the day.

Signs associated with cosplay are okay as long as they refer to the film, TV show, game or similar fictional world they come from. They can’t contain profanity, solicitation or hate speech.

Where to buy tickets

Ticket options are available galaxycon.com and range from multi-day packages to single-day admission. Special events like photo ops are sold separately. Those with unused tickets from the canceled 2020 event can use it to enter this year’s convention.

Four-day passes for the whole convention are sold out, but at press time, fans can still purchase single-day passes for Thursday, Friday or Sunday for under $50 each.

Those who were hoping to attend Saturday can still opt for an after-dark ticket, which includes admission after 3 pm at $55 for adults or $10 for kids.

Some guests are also offering pre-sale autograph tickets or dinner events.

Where to park

Parking is available in downtown Raleigh. There are public parking garages on all sides of the Raleigh Convention Center, including two off of Cabarrus Street and three off of Lenoir Street.

This year, GalaxyCon guests can use Alexander Square Parking Deck or the One City Plaza parking garage, both located off of Wilmington Street, for a flat $10 fee.

Ilana Arougheti is a metro reporting intern at The News & Observer. They are a rising senior at Northwestern University, where she was most recently a city desk editor at The Daily Northwestern. You can reach Ilana at iarougheti@newsobserver.com.

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