Fans celebrate pop culture, nostalgia at Idaho Falls Retro XPublished at
The Idaho Falls Rec Center was packed full of toys, comics, video games and people who love them this past Saturday for Idaho Falls Retro X.
The event gathered together vintage toy and video game vendors, giving attendees a chance to add to their collections or pick up long-lost, much-loved items from their childhoods. The show also gave cosplayers a reason to get dressed up and show off their skill and creativity.
Beyond that, Retro X was about memories. For adults, seeing so many items from back in the day brought up warm feelings of nostalgia. For kids, the show helped to create new memories of meeting their favorite superhero or Disney princess.
Retro X was also a big hit. By about 1 p.m., the show had already welcomed over a thousand people through the doors and there was consistently a line of people waiting to get in for most of the day.
“We were kind of thinking maybe 1,500 (people would come out),” said Retro X cofounder Phil Langston. “But by about three hours in, we’re already close to our goal. It’s been great. I see a lot of money moving and people carrying stuff around, so I think that’s good for the vendors.”
Langston said that the potential impact of Retro X on the local nerd community is massive.
“A lot of these people are having to go to either Boise or Salt Lake to show off their cosplay stuff,” he said. “I looked at the map and from Pocatello to Rexburg, in all the little towns, we have over 200,000 people in east Idaho. Even if just a small percentage of those show up, it shows you something.”
“We’re seeing middle-aged people wearing costumes,” he added. “It’s not just young kids.”
Langston said that he knew of people who traveled from as far away as Salt Lake to attend Retro X. BYU-I students Jane Orr and Spencer Massey drove down from Rexburg to check out the show. They expressed excitement to see an event like Retro X in east Idaho.
“We have cons that are a lot bigger,” said Orr, who is from Oregon. “It was nice to see and hear that east Idahoans are doing things like this as well.”
“A lot of east Idaho is growing, population-wise,” said Massey, originally from Indiana. “I think it’s pretty cool that they’re starting to do (pop culture shows) at the same time.”
Orr said that events like Retro X show the wide appeal of pop culture properties that would be considered uncool not that long ago.
“It really brings to light how mainstream being a nerd really is,” she said. “A lot of us have seen ‘Star Wars.’ A lot of us have seen ‘Harry Potter.’ A lot of us have seen anime, so by having an event that will tailor to that side of people, a side that isn’t usually shown, it can really bring people out in droves to support that side of themselves that they’ve never really expressed.”
Langston said that plans for next year’s Retro X are already underway and that they’ve already begun reaching out to voice actors and other people who can attract fans. You can keep up with future Retro X developments by visiting the show website or following the con’s Facebook page.