Saturday, January 14, 2023

Hallmark Stars gather for the first-ever Midwest Fan Convention

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The creators of Christmas Con, the three-day convention dedicated to connecting fans with the stars of their favorite Christmas television movies — particularly the dozens produced annually by Hallmark Channel — are turning this summer’s weekend event into their first Take it to the Midwest. Organizers say tickets for the June 2023 event in Kansas City are selling out fast, with longtime Hallmark actor Jonathan Bennett serving as the event’s “official host.” Here’s what you need to know:

The next Christmas Con will be held June 9-11 in Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. Hours after ticket sales opened on Jan. 13, the convention’s parent company, That’s 4 Entertainment, posted on Instagram that their $250 VIP tickets — which offer perks like a “fast pass” to skip the line at celebrity photo ops — already accounted for 50%. sold out.

In addition to Bennett, more than 20 fan favorites will be in attendance, according to organizers, including Andrew Walker, Paul Campbell, Erin Cahill, Brennan Elliott, Benjamin Ayres, Wes Brown, Danica McKellar, Taylor Cole, Jen Lilley, Cameron Mathison and Melissa Joan Hart.

In a statement released in early January, Christina Figliona and Liliana Kligman, co-founders of Christmas Con, said, “We’ve been constantly asked to bring Christmas Con to the Midwest, and what better place could there be to host a Christmas convention.” host as the birthplace of Hallmark, Kansas City.”

Although the convention is not a Hallmark production, the event’s screenings and meet-and-greets have a strong focus on Hallmark films and stars, as Hallmark is the undisputed leader in the vacation film genre. In fact, Hallmark Media said in a Jan. 11 press release that for the fourth quarter of 2022, the Hallmark Channel was the #1 entertainment cable network for the ninth straight year, and that Hallmark’s original films made up 97 of the top 100 films on all cable television in 2022.

Hallmark Media is an offshoot of Hallmark, the legendary Kansas City-based stationery company founded in 1910. While Christmas Con is being held at the Overland Park Convention Center, the location offers attendees the opportunity to tour the Hallmark Visitors Center 18 miles away in downtown Kansas City.

Christmas Con began in New Jersey in 2019 and attracted 10,000 fans, according to New Jersey Community Magazine. New Jersey, where the co-founders of Christmas Con live, is the home base for the convention, with an event held there every December. Following this summer’s Midwest event, a second Christmas Con will be held December 8-10 at the New Jersey Expo Center. VIP tickets for this event sold out in just 20 minutes, according to People Magazine.

Hallmark stars often say they love attending the events because they get to meet and hear from their most devoted fans and connect with other actors they haven’t seen in a while. On the Thats4Entertainment Instagram post announcing some of the planned talent, several stars commented, including Paul Campbell, who wrote: “Can. Not. Wait. SO excited for this!”

During an Instagram Live with co-founders Figliona and Kligman in November 2022, Hallmark actor Wes Brown said it’s important to him to connect with people about the films he’s made.

“It’s really surreal, you know, sometimes when we’re making these movies we’re kind of in the middle of nowhere. It’s just us,” he said.

“And then seeing the repercussions, so many months later and even years later, when they bring up a film that we made a year, two, three years ago,” he continued. “I think that’s the best thing about seeing how many people come to these things to let you know what traditions you’ve created in their lives and so many memories. You don’t really see that or get a taste of it when you film on location sometimes.”

During each convention, stars often share photos and videos on their social media feeds so other fans can catch a glimpse of the fun. After Christmas Con in December 2022, actor Paul Greene posted a montage video of his favorite moments from the weekend on YouTube and wrote: “What a wild, fun, delicious weekend we had together meeting you all in New Jersey #christmasconnj2022.”

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