This year is ScareFest 6. It begins on Friday, September 13, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky. ScareFest is a 3 day horror and paranormal convention that features some of the most elite names in the horror and paranormal scenes. This years roster of horror and paranormal icons is quite impressive. It boasts names such as Kane Hodder, Danielle Harris, Tony Todd, Sean Cunningham, Malcolm McDowell, Zak Bagans, Aaron Goodwin, Josh Gates and many more.
I have recently been granted the opportunity to interview Jennifer Kirkland, the Administrator for ScareFest Horror and Paranormal Convention.
LBoH: How did ScareFest get its start?
JK: Sometime around 2005-2006, Owner Patti Starr was approached by a former ghost hunting student, Jeff Waldridge (now the ScareFest Event Manager), with the idea of creating a horror convention for Kentucky. After some thought, Patti agreed ON ONE CONDITION. The event had to incorporate both HORROR and PARANORMAL. At the time, there was no other event mixing the two genres. ScareFest was born!
LBoH:What makes ScareFest so unique in my opinion is the mash up of horror and paranormal. Where did that idea come from?
JK: Event Manager, Jeff Waldridge is an avid horror fan from way back. He met Patti Starr when taking her ghost hunting course. Patti has many years experience in the paranormal. She has taught college courses on the subject, teaches her own ghost hunting certification class, as well as regularly conducting paranormal investigations.
LBoH: The next ScareFest begins on Friday the 13th. Was that planed or a total coincidence?
JK: We tend to choose our dates a couple of years in advance, based on what dates the Lexington Convention Center has available around this time of year. When choosing dates for 2013, there were a couple weekends available. Of course, we wanted Friday the 13th! What better day to kick off the event?
LBoH: How do you choose what celebrity guests you invite to each year’s convention?
JK: We get a lot of suggestions from fans, but unfortunately we can’t always accomodate ALL of them. However, we try our best to keep people happy. We like to look at celebrities that typically don’t do conventions, or haven’t done one in the area in quite a while. We also like to book guests that have co-starred together in movies or TV shows. It’s always a bonus for fans when they get to meet an entire cast at our event. We also try to get a wide variety, from old movies, new movies, horror, pop culture, etc.
LBoH: How many vendors will fans see at this year’s ScareFest?
JK: We have approximately 130 DIFFERENT vendors this year. We have a ton of new ones, in addition to many that have been return vendors for several years. There will be no shortage of unique items to check out!
LBoH: Many fans that have not been to a convention are not sure about convention timing. How long would you say fans should prepare to be in line (to get in/autograph lines)?
JK: It’s hard to pin down an “average” wait time. There’s a variety of factors that contribute to line waits. The best option is to get in on the Golden or Platinum ticket packages. These ticket holders get into the convention one hour before the general public, so their line waits are usually extremely short. In addition, Platinum Ticket Holders are given a Line Skip Pass, which allows them to skip to the front of the line on 3-4 pre-determined stars. (One skip per listed star) Also, line length can depend on what day you’re at the show and what stars you are wanting to see. Sunday, of course tends to have the shortest wait time. Saturday is the busiest. Friday is typically fairly busy, too. Our STAPH does an excellent job of keeping the lines moving fairly quickly.
LBoH: Are volunteers still needed? If so, what help is still needed?
JK: At this time, our volunteer staff is full. We require all volunteers to attend regular monthly meetings throughout the year in order to prep them for the event. That’s why it’s crucial for volunteers to live near the Lexington area. Year after year, our STAPH gets more compliments than any other aspect of our event, from stars, fans and vendors alike. Training of volunteers is an absolute MUST to make the show run smoothly.
LBoH: Who are some guests you would like to get for future conventions?
JK: We want to get stars that fans want to see. Some of our most requested guests are Robert Englund, Bruce Campbell and Norman Reedus. These are all guests we’re hoping to pull in for future shows.
LBoH: Some conventions have 1-2 events a year.
JK: Any plans for ScareFest to add another event during convention seasons in the future? We get this question a lot. We’ve been approached by convention centers all over the country asking us to bring our event there. For now, we’ll be staying in Lexington. For us, it’s best to focus on one show per year and make it as near to perfect as possible. Once your focus starts to drift, it easy to get pulled away from the key aspect of any show: “MAKE FANS HAPPY”.
LBoH: Can we expect to see ScareFest outside of Kentucky any time?
JK: Lexington, Kentucky is our home. But, who knows what we’ll see several years down the road!
A huge thank you to Jennifer Kirkland for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for guests like Bruce Campbell,Robert Englund and Norman Reedus! Who also wouldn’t love to see more than one ScareFest a year in more than one location?
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