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 wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This 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.”

8 thoughts on “Wine Country Comic Con Planning Second Event in September

  • May 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    It’s bad vs worse. ToyCon is run by a gigantic jerk, WCCC by a liar. The best case scenario is if they both take each other out, and someone can bring a GOOD convention to Santa Rosa.

    • September 19, 2016 at 4:26 pm

      Huh. I have worked with Mike Holbrook many times and he seems nothing like a jerk to me. Anyone in the toy/comic community in this are would tell you Mike is straight shooter and a good guy.

      • October 4, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        He went on an explicative-filled rant and banned people from his convention’s page after its first year for complaining about the weather. He’s shouted people out of his store for daring to suggest that he answer the phone with “Hello, this is The Carbonite Chamber” instead of just “Hello?” He’s viciously insulted the people who were running a cosplay contest for Outer Planes and told them to their faces that he didn’t want them there, for no given reason.

        Straight shooter? Maybe. But good guy? Oh god no. Not from any of my experiences.

        • October 5, 2016 at 12:33 pm

          If somebody walked into my store and told me how to answer my phone, I might shout at them too 🙂 And I might ban someone if they came to my show and complained about the weather. But thanks for your reply. I wish more people on the Internet had the courage to anonymously insult people 🙂

          • October 7, 2016 at 10:58 pm

            When you run an event or a business, a modicum of professionalism is expected. He has shown none, not to his customers, nor his attendees, or even vendors. You are free to disagree, but I’m speaking from my experiences with him, just as this article is speaking of WCCC. And what I’m saying about him is nothing compared to the things he’s said to and about me and others.

  • May 5, 2016 at 4:43 am

    I don’t see how Brena is even able to go forward with this, considering that his background and history is less than stellar. To top things off, almost everyone within the convention-going community in Northern California know of Brena and to not deal with him.

  • May 18, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    “Shinobi Uriel” attempted to join my group which is something for the Sacramento, CA area, presumably to spam his event to it. I put a stop to it right away.

    • May 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

      That is not surprising, considering that Uriel Brena uses two different Facebook accounts for spamming in various groups. Who knows how far he’ll go for his newly announced, single day convention in September 2016, going directly in competition with Santa Rosa Toy Con.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *