Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo kicks off at the Von Braun Center
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The coronavirus pandemic has canceled many events but the Huntsville Comic and Pop Culture Expo isn't one of them.

The 5th annual event kicked off at the Von Braun Center on Saturday morning.

Even though this year is slightly different than years past -- with more space and fewer guests and vendors -- people still came out to have a good time.

"Everywhere that there should be a line, we have six-foot Xs everywhere so that we can be spacious, we can spread out, people can still come and have a good time but at a safe social distance,” Jeremy Long, the event’s founder explained.

Long said he felt it was important to put the event on this year to give people something to do.

“People have wanted this, they’ve wanted something to do and I’m just glad we were able to provide people something to do,” he explained.

Despite several special guests dropping out, some people were still able to meet their heroes, like WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter.

"I’m having a great time. I want to make sure that everybody knows that we're here, come on down and meet us. And that's an order,” the wrestling legend said.

In addition to giving people a place to go, the event is also a boost for vendors who haven't had the opportunity to set up stands as regularly.

Wizards Comics owner Tim Eades said he usually does a show every six to eight weeks, but hasn’t been able to do one since early March. On Saturday, he said items seemed to be in higher demand and he's hoping for a big weekend.

"It’s actually very important,” he said. “The attendance seems to be very well, and the people that are coming in are spending money.”

With a statewide mask order in place and hundreds in attendance, some got super creative with their face coverings.

"I've seen people with full on Power Ranger helmets, and then I can even see a mask poking out of the chin, so it's like mask on mask,” Long said.

Chuck and Margie Elam wore homemade masks that matched their Star Trek outfits and said that they felt completely comfortable at the event.

"We wouldn't be here if we didn't,” Chuck said. “I work at Walmart so I'm in a crowd all day, 40 hours a week, so it's just another day to me.”

“Just taking the necessary precautions. Just being careful and so there's no reason to be afraid,” Margie added.

The expo will also livestream all of its panels this year. Long said this is due to the fact that capacity in the ballroom is limited to about 60 people.

“If people don’t feel comfortable coming out, they can look on our Facebook page and watch the panels from home,” he said.

The expo will be open on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance for kids 12 and under is free.

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