Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
Although it takes place at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, the Anatolian Cultures & Food Festival actually exists at the nexus of thousands of years of Anatolian history. That's the way it feels, at least. Upon arrival, guests begin this trek through time at the Gates of Civilizations, whose waypoints honor 14 historic and present-day nations ranging from the mighty Hittite Empire to the modern Turkish Republic. Towering, ornate arches and a staff of highly knowledgeable costumed actors guide them through this journey, sharing the traditional dress and customs of bygone regional residents including the Ottomans, Romans, Phrygians, and Byzantines.
Once inside, guests can extend their explorations within stunning recreations of nine different Anatolian cities, grabbing lifelike views of everything from the Topkapi Palace—once occupied by Ottoman sultans—or the Armenian Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the ancient seat of the Armenian Orthodox patriarch. Along the way, they can stop for souvenirs at the bustling Grand Bazaar, where more than 100 vendor hawk traditional Near Eastern good. A traditional Turkish coffeehouse also occupies part of the festival grounds, tempting guests with cups of rich Turkish coffee that par well with the kebabs, stews, and baked goods prepared by the festival’s food vendors.
Art isn't confined to paintings and sculptures in museums and galleries. That's the idea behind Body Art Expo, a celebration of art on a different type of canvas?the body. At the traveling event, more than 200 exhibitors and thousands of guests put their tattoos and piercings on full display. Guests can enter tattoo contest for a chance to win in categories such as Best Movie Character, Best Portrait, and Most Unusual. They can also get a professional to pierce their tongue or tattoo the event's schedule on their bicep. Celebrity artists, including LA Ink's Ruthless and NY Ink's Tommy Montoya, often roam the aisles, chatting with visitors, dancing along to live music, or attending demos.
Since 1996, Sinister Pointe has been raising goose bumps throughout Southern California with attractions such as the Realm of Darkness, Diner of the Dead, and Queen Mary's Dark Harbor. In addition, the scenario artists have crafted the official haunted-attraction tie-ins for the Silent Hill and Saw films. At Sinister Pointe's own year-round haunted studio, guests warily walk through a 10,000-square-foot labyrinth of gory farmhouse corridors, passing by kitchens where terrifying entrees are prepared and bedrooms where lethargic undergrads try to talk them into playing video games. Throughout the year, Sinister Pointe celebrates various holidays with special events, such as the Not So Merry Holiday attraction during Christmastime and the Halloween attraction beginning in late September.
While the rest of the natural world prepares to hibernate for the winter, Enchanted Country Trees & Pumpkins has been at its most active since 1983. Farmers pick the plumpest pumpkins from their patches, displaying them next to bounce houses and trundling John Deere tractors. Barnyard animals deign to be petted in exchange for palmfuls of feed, and ponies accept small riders for afternoon trots. Come winter, the lots fill with Christmas trees.
Over 13 days, 31 people screamed as a madman stole their lives. The bitter, vengeful whispers of the dead urged him onward—drove him to slaughter—until he could bear it no longer and dug a grave for himself. He used his bare hands, scraping his knuckles raw, until the earth collapsed over him. Only then did the town quiet.
But the grave has been unearthed, and the horrors of that killing spree once again haunt the living. Inside the abandoned family mausoleum, visitors encounter dismembered bodies, a bride whose throat spills blood onto her white gown, and a skeleton with rotting flesh still clinging to its bones. As guests creep through hallways covered with gory handprints and stumble past broken fences, the grave’s fleet of masked monsters leaps out, raising goose bumps with impolite greetings—ranging from growls of “fresh meat!” to “arrrrrrgh!”—that would make Emily Post scream in horror.