The collection of agriculture items that you normally see at the Tulare International Agri-Center will be replaced this weekend by science-fiction films, celebrity guests and an assortment of artists.
Taking over the center is the second annual “Tulare Sci-Fi Con II” on Saturday, March 7, and Sunday, March 8. It will feature panel discussions, celebrity signings and vendors selling everything from T-shirts to comic books.
The convention is the work of Derek Mazer. His “Star Wars” fan group was approached last year by the Tulare Library Foundation to raise money for the facility’s children’s section.
“I had three months to come up with something and the convention was born,” Mazer says.
More than 1,000 people — from as far away as Bakersfield and Stockton — attended the first convention that covered half of the Agri-Center floor. This year, the entire building has been filled and Mazer has turned away celebrity guests and vendors.
While the event is billed as a sci-fi convention, Mazer says that it actually covers a wide range of pop culture.
This year the convention benefits the nonprofit organization “Make The World A Better Place Foundation,” which helps social services programs for homeless children.
Among the charity work done by the foundation is a breakfast with Santa Claus Christmas benefit.
Lota Hadley, spokeswoman for “Better Place,” says last year’s convention raised a lot of money for the local library. When the library decided not to be involved this year, her foundation jumped at the chance to be the recipient.
Among the guests attending the event will be: “Jaws” screenwriter Carl Gottlieb; “Highlander” star Adrian Paul; “Grimm’s” Chris Mulkey; “24” and “Terminator 2” star Xander Berkeley; plus members from the cast of “True Blood,” “Revenge,” “Ben 10” and “Jesse.”
The guest list is subject to change. For a current list of attendees, go to the convention website.