Syosset Public Library Community Engagement Specialist Jessikah Chautin. (Photos by Jennifer Corr)

Pop Culture Convention Fully Returns To Syosset Public Library

The popular event, SY-CON, came back in full swing on Sept. 9.

Mckel Supreme and his son selling original artwork inspired by pop culture icons

SY-CON is the Syosset Public Library’s biennial pop culture convention, featuring vendors selling art inspired by popular anime or comic book characters; food such as Ikedo Ramen and Mr. Softee; as well as activities like a meet & greet with the Star Wars Empire Saber Guild, fan fiction writing workshop, cosplay contests, table top gaming from Game Master Games and the Extreme Video Game Truck parked outside.
The event was so popular that it was hard to find parking, and inside, people of all ages were dressed in cosplay, as they took photos, shopped from the vendors and participated in the many activities.
“This is a really fun event,” said Syosset Public Library Community Engagement Specialist Jessikah Chautin, who was dressed as a version of Zelda during the event. “The library is many things, also a venue of entertainment and what we really want when we do SY-CON is to really bring the excitement of Comic-Con, which is in the city… to the front doors of the people who live here on the island. We get people out from all over the place, and we love it.”
Last year, the Syosset Public Library presented the SY-CON Lite event, which was a smaller version of SY-CON. SY-CON Lite featured LEGO models from I LUG NY, a LEGO use group, as well as table top gaming from Game Master Games. There was also a cosplay contest, and gaming and food trucks outside.
“It was our first venture back into SY-CON after the pandemic, so we didn’t have the vendors, which are a huge draw and a big part of pop-culture convention culture,” Chautin said.
But this year it was much bigger, with almost every inch of the library being used to celebrate pop-culture. It’s the perfect opportunity for individuals or groups who may be intimated or unable to travel to big pop culture conventions in the city such as Comic-Con, as well as those who may not be able to afford those events, to share in the excitement of their favorite movies, shows, games and comic books with other enthusiasts.
“The library cons are free,” Chautin said. “The Friends of the Library facilitates the vendors tables… There’s lots of fun things you can buy, and there’s also free entertainment. You get to see people in costume and walk around and get to meet people who are into the same stuff.”
Chautin added that all of the cosplays have been “fabulous,” and that so many aspects of the convention, from the cosplay contests and artists to the prize wheel and trivia, has been a hit among the crowd.

SY-CON featured vendors, cosplay, food and many activities

Mckel Supreme of Night and Day Anime Studios, who calls himself a man of many hats and talents, was at SY-CON selling pearl beads art created by his wife J Scribble; terrariums (including the Pokémon Paradise Bowls and Kirby Dream Orbs); fan art inspired by anime, Marvel and DC and a comic book written and illustrated by Mckel and his wife called Reign Star Vile Chronicles.
Supreme is a freelance artist, graphic artist, illustrator, craft artist and art teacher. He’s also an organizer of the East Meadow Public Library’s EMcon Anime fest event.
“As a con-goer I’m very impressed,” Supreme said of SY-CON. “This is my third time coming here and I’m glad to see they’ve reopened and started doing it after the pandemic. I’m very pleased to be back here and I’m very happy.”
Upstairs, many pairs and groups were engaged with board games provided by Game Master Games, run by couple David Benderwerf and Ginger Walsh. Game Master Games used to be a retail store, but Benderwerf and Walsh now run a YouTube channel and Twitch livestreams to teach games. They also provide games to conventions and library events.
“Mostly we work at libraries, and SY-CON, of course, is one of our favorites,” Walsh said. “The team here at the library is just wonderful. They are so gracious and welcoming and patron focused. They’ll do whatever the patrons need. And the people that come in are just a lot of fun.”
Walsh said that over the years, Game Master Games has had some changes in what they provide over the years because of the families who want to play games with their young children. So they’ve added some age-friendly games to their collection. “We still only have a little bit,” Walsh said. “But the little bit we have, we use all the time.”
In addition to providing games for these events, Walsh and Benderwerf provide instruction on how to play the games.
“My favorites are the quick-to-learn games,” Walsh said. “Because if you’re a convention, you don’t want to make a commitment to spending three hours of games.”
Overall, it was a very successful and lively event that was enjoyed by all.

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