Outlander at ECCC: A Great Time for All

Lots of Outlander fans got to fulfill a bucket list item last weekend, when Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe were featured guests at Emerald City ComicCon (ECCC) in Seattle. We got to see our stars on a panel – just them and a moderator – and had the opportunity to buy extra experiences, including photos and autographs, and a high-roller VIP meet and greet. Of course, being the best fans on the planet, there were also a bunch of outside activities planned so we all could meet and mingle!

For most of the con, one of the largest in the country, Seattle did what Seattle does – it rained. But our excitement couldn’t be ruined by a little bit of water and gray skies! Thursday night, several fans gathered at The Whisky Bar for a four-glass tasting event, arranged by Jennifer Lasell. It’s a wonder anyone made it home!

The Con started, for us, Friday morning with an hours-long (and felt like miles-long) wait to get into a room for the Sam and Cait panel. No kidding – I was one of several hundred people who stood for nearly 3 (or more) hours, waiting for entry. The panel was worth it, though! We were treated to little bits of non-news about Season 3 (“can you tell us at least in facial gestures if the print shop scene will be close to the book?”), several major fan thank yous, especially for personal results from Sam’s My Peak Challenge, and a kilt twirl from Sam. If you didn’t already watch the panel, you can watch it on Youtube here.

photo by Marcia Mueller

Following that, a lot of fans went off to see the convention floor, filled with vendors selling everything from artwork to books to costumes – if you can think of something geeky or gamery, it was there. Diana Gabaldon’s son, Sam Sykes, was there in person as well, signing books! One really fun thing you’ll find at comic conventions are people who have amazing talent and imagination, who make the most elaborate costumes and participate in cosplay. I saw a Chewbacca and Princess Leia dressed as Beauty and the Beast. An entire contingent of Lord of the Rings elves passed by. Carrie Fisher was supposed to be a guest at this event, and her untimely death led to a lot of Star Wars cosplay and a Friday night tribute event. We had our own Outlander cosplay – lots of highland dresses, some kilts; one woman made a great version of Claire’s red dress, and another did a lovely recreation of a Paris gown.

Other fans went off to photo or autograph opportunities. They were a little pricey ($80 for each auto or photo session), and some fans were disappointed that the process was very rushed and impersonal. But Sam and Cait were great, trying to make the most of their 30 seconds per person, giving everybody a big smile. They seemed quite happy to be there, meeting people, and literally making some dreams come true.

We had a fan meetup in one of the convention’s rooms – just an opportunity to sit for an hour, possibly catch up with friends from far away, and take a quick break. I had the chance to pass out official Outlander Season 2 promo trading cards from Cryptozoic – I made card-related t-shirts for myself and two friends, Koko Pipkin and Sam Kraupner (but they both ended up in photo lines during the hour), so another good friend, Melonie Ross, helped me out. (and no, sorry, I don’t have any left!).

Friday night had two big events. The official event was a high-dollar VIP “meet and greet.” Sam and Cait joined 100 fans for a 2-hour, much more relaxed event. They (separately) came to each table and chatted with the fans at the tables. One group had several members of a trivia team from December’s Thru The Stones event, the Kilt-A-Whirls (which won best team name), and Sam tried on their tiara! Our table brought Cards Against Humanity to play while we waited, and both Sam and Cait read the answers for a question. That was one of the highlights of my weekend – listening to Sam, with his Scottish accent getting broader with every sip of whisky, reading the bawdy answers to our question. I sure wish I had been able to at least audio tape that! And unfortunately, I can’t show you the pictures of the cards they chose as winners, because this is rated as a “family” site.

Meet and greet participants commented how friendly and open Cait was, how excited they were to meet both of them. Cait talked about her work with World Child Cancer with some groups. The stars came through and took photos with each table, and everyone said they had a great time.

The other event Friday night was a meetup, which included a raffle for charity. Organizer Wendy Nay said, “We had 105 Outlander fans from across the country attend the ECCC Outlander Meet Up and fundraiser at Pikes Pub & Brewery. We had a raffle and raised just over $1,400 to split between Bloodwise & World Child Cancer.” A local TV station came out and interviewed the fan group. You can see that segment here.

Saturday was more autographs and photographs. Yes, there were other Con guests available also – Jeremy Renner (Mission: Impossible, Arrival, and one of my faves) had lines that were absolutely NUTS (and crazy high prices too). Hunky Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) was a big draw, pun intended. And father of Marvel Comics, and living legend Stan Lee took photos with fans and had the biggest panel audience of the weekend.

And then Sam and Cait were off to South Africa to film the rest of Season 3, and we scattered back to our homes – hopefully to meet again! Here’s my slideshow wrapup of the weekend, with MANY thanks to all the wonderful people who let me use their photos.

Follow me on Twitter: @OutlanderTIBS, @ErinConrad2 and @threeifbyspace
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