ParaFest Invades Sands Event Center

"Ghost Hunters" Grant Wilson poses with fans on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Photo Courtesy Victoria Krukenkamp
“Ghost Hunters” Grant Wilson poses with fans on Saturday, September 7, 2013.
Photo Courtesy Victoria Krukenkamp

SC Copy Editor-in-Chief

The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA, was a first time host for Parafest2013 beginning  Friday, September 6, through Sunday, September 8, 2013.

ParaFest is a supernatural convention that brings the stars of paranormal and horror with the fans that adore them.

A comic-con style event, ParaFest invited fans to Q&A Panels, Seminars, Ghost Hunts, and over 100 booths where attendees could interact with guests and vendors throughout the long weekend.

Jason Gates from Syfy’s “Haunted Collector” and Jay Wesley from the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” also hosted ghost hunts at Bethlehem’s historic Sun Inn on Friday, September 6, and Saturday, September 7, 2013.

Chip Coffey, a psychic medium featured on A&E’s “Paranormal State” and “Psychic Kids” hosted a seminar and gallery reading on Saturday, September 7, 2013.

Sunday, September 8, 2013 featured a Q&A Panel with “True Blood” cast members Kristen Bauer and William Sanderson.  Sam Trammel and Denis O’Hare were schedule to appear but were forced to cancel at the last minute for another project.

ParaFest’s relaxed atmosphere led to great interactions between celebrities and fans.  Sebastian Roché, known best for his roles in CW’s “The Vampire Diaries,” “The Originals,” and “Supernatural,” added to the excitement of the convention, insisting on taking a least one funny-faced picture with each fan at his table.

Included in the event’s roster was the Macabre Fair Film Festival, which showcased independent films from the horror  and science fiction genres and culminated in an award ceremony at the close of the event.

Notable guests of this year’s convention included Danny Glover, an actor well known for his roles in the “Lethal Weapon” and “Saw” franchises, Ernie Hudson of the “Ghostbusters” franchise, the “Candyman,” Tony Todd, and Kristen Bauer of “True Blood.”

Stars from the reality TV shows “Ghost Hunters,” “Paranormal State,” “Haunted Collecter,” and “Ghost Adventures” were also a part of the star-studded guest list.

In the days leading up to the convention, a few guests and vendors cancelled, leading attendees to worry about the quality of the event.  Celeb Photo Ops, a company that offers professional photographs of guests and their fans, was scheduled to attend ParaFest, but pulled out of the event at the last minute citing unforseen circumstances.

This year’s convention was a success despite speculation over cancelled guests and vendors in the days leading up to the event.

Grant Wilson, best selling author and founding member of T.A.P.S. from Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters,” tweeted his praise of the event on September 9, 2013.

“So @parafest2013 was an all around wonderful show for me.  Despite it being their first time, it went smoother than any other. Kudos!”

Excited fans tweeted about the success of the event both during and after.

@CullenButler tweeted on September 7, 2013, “@parafest2013 when’s the official word for parafest 2014?1??? Excellent job by everyone involved !! Next year 3 day pass!!!”

@DigitalDowsing tweeted “@parafest2013 if you missed this event you missed the best conference of 2013! Incredible job !!”

ParaFest is an ongoing convention that, fans hope, has found a new home in Pennsylvania at the Sands Bethlehem Event Center.

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