Atlanta to host Walker Stalker Con
by Bradley Hartsell
Next weekend, the biggest show on cable gets a proper celebration for fans. And there are plenty of those.
AMC network’s “The Walking Dead” continues to set record ratings for cable, growing a phenomenon big enough to sustain arguably the most exciting “Walking Dead” event yet: the Walker Stalker Con.
Hosted by the Walker Stalkers podcast, the Con is a three-day festival Nov. 1-3 at Atlanta’s AmericasMart Convention Center with loads of celebrity appearances, special panels and numerous vendors, who’ll sell comic books, toys and other collectables. Three tattoo booths will be on hand for those feeling frisky. The Georgia Reptile Society will have snakes and tarantulas, fitting for fans of a horror show. People from SyFy’s Face Off will have makeup booths for those wanting to get in the zombie spirit.
The real treat for fans will be the chance to meet and greet up to 16 main cast members from the show, including stars Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus. Walker Stalker podcast co-host, Eric Nordhoff (who co-hosts with James Frazier), said lines are often issues at similar cons. To bypass that, the Con is providing tiered VIP tickets.
The top tier provides VIP access to the Lincoln/Reedus lines that ensures autographs from the two major stars. The next tier provides fast access through lines and VIP seating. The next provides text alerts at the top of the hour for ideal line access.
AmericasMart is connected with the Westin hotel, and those staying at the hotel are entitled to a meet and greet on Friday night with most all of the celebrities that will be in attendance, which include cast from show, as well as other recognizable stars like Giancarlo Esposito from “Breaking Bad” and “Revolution.”
“It’s going to be an amazing time, especially if you’re a Walking Dead fan,” said Nordhoff. Nordhoff said fans as far away as the UK and Australia are expected to be in attendance, something he and Frazier are floored by. The Walker Stalkers only launched in December 2012, but shot up in popularity quickly. In April, coinciding with the season 3 finale watch party on Easter Sunday at The Alamo in Newnan, the Stalkers started planning the Con.
In June, they started a kickstarter that Nordhoff said took off and allowed them to secure notable guests, which snowballed into being able to get stars like Reedus and as recently as last week, Lincoln.
“This has been a five-month journey that’s been unbelievable,” said Nordhoff.
The Walker Stalker Con is completely fan-funded, according to Nordhoff, and run completely with volunteers like him and Frazier. Without any corporate backing, it may seem impressive a ragtag group could assemble a star-studded lineup, but Nordhoff insists it all starts with graciousness from the guests.
“The cast & crew from ‘The Walking Dead’ are some of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. They’re amazing,” said Nordhoff. “The fans have been very supportive and it’s taken a lot of good word of mouth from them to get us to this point.”
“The Walking Dead” has obviously infected the whole country, but there’s a special place for the show in the hearts of Cowetans. Much of the show has been filmed in Senoia and Newnan. In fact, filming for the show shut down First Avenue in Newnan on Thursday.
With “Walking Dead” tours and themed-events all over the county, seemingly every week, Cowetans certainly aren’t longing for community connections to the show, but the Walker Stalker Con is several levels above and beyond that level. In many ways, this event seems like the perfect way for fans of the show to connect and interact with a lot of the magic they experience every Sunday night of “The Walking Dead” season.
For tickets and more information, go to walkerstalkercon.com. Some VIP tickets are sold out but both weekend and daily passes are still available.