Event shows town has real character as sci-fi fans gather for fair

Some of the many characters attending Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.
Some of the many characters attending Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

A celebration of sci-fi was out of this world as enthusiasts gathered to share in their love of characters.

South Shields Museum hosted the Scifair today for the eighth time, giving families the chance to meet artists and dealers and fellow cosplayers - fans who dress up in outfits from their favourite shows or their own creations.

Kay Lindsay and Alex Arthurs at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Kay Lindsay and Alex Arthurs at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Sunderland couple Elaine Palmer Lawler and her husband Keith organised the day, which was staged across two rooms and also saw those dressed as characters take to Ocean Road, where they entertained shoppers and posed for photos.

Elaine said: “We had our first one back in August 2012 at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens and it’s gone from there.

“We see a lot of people coming back to our events and it brings in a lot of families because it’s free, so it doesn’t cost them anything to get in and that means they can spend their money with the dealers.

“It’s a great venue because it’s very central and there’s a lot of people passing by and it gets people into the museum, which shows off one of the gems of South Shields, and it also means people who come into the museum can come and see us.”

We see a lot of people coming back to our events and it brings in a lot of families because it’s free, so it doesn’t cost them anything to get in and that means they can spend their money with the dealers.

Elaine Palmer Lawler

Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Marvel superheroes were among the brands represented, with autograph traders, comics, jewellers, knitted items, figures, artwork and mugs among those for sale on the 12 stalls.

Captain America, Batman’s Harley Quinn, Halo, Judge Dread characters, and Furries, which sees people come up with their own dog-inspired outfits, were among the cosplayers.

Among those browsing at the session was Lisa Longstaff, 38, from Jarrow, with her sons Luke, five, and Thomas, seven, who both attend Hebburn Lakes Primary.

Lisa said: “We come to them all the time and they love looking at all the figures and all the different characters.”

Lisa Longstaff with her sons Luke and Thomas.

Lisa Longstaff with her sons Luke and Thomas.

The next events will include a fair at Primrose Community Association in Jarrow on Saturday, October 15, from noon until 4pm, and then the Seaburn Centre in Sunderland on Sunday, November 13, from 11am until 4pm.

Youngster Darren Reed with Matthew West at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Youngster Darren Reed with Matthew West at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Halo, Jasper Turnbull and Judge Dredd, Paul Bryson at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.

Halo, Jasper Turnbull and Judge Dredd, Paul Bryson at Scifair held at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery.