COLUMBUS, Ohio — After more than two years, Jorge Carhel is happy to be stocking his booth.
Due to COVID, he’s been holding on to about two years’ worth of stock.
All of it will be on full display at this weekend’s GalaxyCon.
“It’s an awesome experience to be able to come back to real-life and not having to have the virtual cons or virtual online,” he said.
The three-day event is expected to host about 40,000 people and through restaurants, hotels and shopping is expected to pump about $2 million into Columbus, making GalaxyCon the biggest event of its kind in Ohio, according to event organizers.
Fernando Sanchez, like Carhel, is one of 450 vendors thankful to be back in person.
“It’s just great to see where people came from and pretty much the whole background is what makes it really good,” Sanchez said.
Arguably, though, no one is more excited for in person than Ashley Eckstein.
For all you Star Wars fans, Eckstein is the voice of Ahsoka Tano. She’s the two lightsaber wielding Togruta from the Clone Wars and Rebels.
For her, what matters the most is the personal interaction.
“The answer to me is easy,” she said. “It’s the fans.”
She loves seeing the faces and the smiles and the sense of normalcy following a pandemic.
“Everyone has been through it,” she said. “There’s no one that’s untouched from the past couple years from COVID. We’ve all experience trauma in a way or we know someone who’s experienced trauma. And the most important thing we can do right now is be kind and help people.”
Full interview with actor Matt Lanter: