Wine Country Comic Con Planning Second Event in September

Following the path of Santa Rosa, CA’s Wine Country Comic Con has been one of the strangest stories I’ve written about in my time covering the con scene here at Nerd & Tie.

Surrounded by controversy, the convention did take place April 23 and 24 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, albeit moved from the large Grace Pavilion to the much smaller Finley Hall. With about three dozen tables and a fairly light attendance, no one would exactly describe it as a hit, but it is a thing that happened. Since then, many of us have been genuinely wondering if they would attempt to run a second convention.

Well, we’ve gotten our answer sooner than later.

While there haven’t been any formal announcements, we have confirmed that organizer Uriel Brena has started reaching out to guests inviting them to the next Wine Country Comic Con. The dates we were shown are is September 24th and 25th, 2016, less than five months away.

This choice of dates is interesting for a few reasons, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

For those of you needing a refresher on the weirdness surrounding this con, we were first tipped that the first year convention was using a sockpuppet Facebook account to catfish their own attendees in February. That was followed by discovering a slew of additional fake accounts, a changing story about the charity behind the event, and some massive copyright and trademark infringement.

As the story marched forward, the vast majority of the convention’s guests ended up pulling out of the convention (even though the convention never announced the cancellations themselves). That mass cancellation apparently drove Wine Country Comic Con organizer Uriel Brena to allegedly threaten one of the agents of said guests.

You seriously can’t make this stuff up.

One of the other strange parts of that story was where Jeff Sterck, son of Roseland Lions Club President Pat Sterck (whose organization sponsored the convention) set up false flag Facebook page to try to deflect any criticism of the convention as an anti-competitive campaign by Santa Rosa Toy Con organizer Mike Holbrook. Jeff Sterck initially denied running the page, but eventually copped to it.

Now, it’s important to bring up the Santa Rosa Toy Con — as you may remember that planned Wine Country Comic Con date is September 24th and 25th 2016. That conflicts very directly with the Santa Rosa Toy Con’s long announced date of September 24th.

That’s right, Uriel Brena is apparently trying to schedule Wine Country Comic Con on the exact same day as the only other convention in Santa Rosa.

Now we don’t know if Brena has actually signed the venue contracts for these dates, or if he even intends to use the Sonoma County Fairgrounds (where both the first Wine Country Comic Con and this year’s Santa Rosa Toy Con take place), but he is actively telling people that his con is moving forward. We’ll update the story as more information comes out.

Full Disclosure: Nerd & Tie is ALSO running a convention that weekend (September 23-25) in Eau Claire WI. It’s a bit far away, and we’re pretty sure the two events wouldn’t be considered in competition with each other. We wanted to make sure that any potential conflicts were disclosed though.

Update (5/23): It’s been confirmed that WCCC is going to hold a second convention September 24th (dropping down to a one day con), and will be held at a new location — the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building in Petaluma, CA.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also writes and draws the webcomics UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth, which leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”