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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photo RETURN APPEARANCE: Extreme Costumes' iconic 10-foot tall Bumblebee will make a second appearance at Spa-Con 4 Sept. 20-22. The over-the-top robot was a crowd favorite during the 2018 multi-genre comics, sci-fi and pop culture convention.

Early bird tickets are now on sale for Spa-Con 4, the multi-genre comics and pop culture convention set for Sept. 20-22 at the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Visit Hot Springs announced Friday that the fourth installment of the annual event will once again feature Extreme Costumes' Bumblebee, a spectacular 10-foot tall cosplay character who helped Spa-Con reap an award from the Arkansas Festival and Events Association recently.

The Bumblebee appearance is arranged by Extreme Costumes, and the 2019 version will be "all new, rebuilt and taller."

According to a news release, Extreme Costumes' founder Thomas DePetrillo, of Rhode Island, has been creating these giant robots for 22 years. Extreme Costumes is both a cosplay name, and the name of DePetrillo's business. With over 350 million views of his work on YouTube, and hundreds of millions more on Facebook his work is synonymous with "Giant Robots."

Extreme Costumes has won Best in Show awards at America's largest comic con and largest anime con. DePetrillo has been hired by clients such as Hasbro, Chevy, Power Rangers, Duck Tape, Caribbean Cruise, Robozuna and Disney, and he and his team have traveled the world with his giant robots at comic cons, anime fests or makers fairs in London, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Mexico, Kuwait and all across the United States, the release said.

According to Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs, weekend passes for the entire convention are $25, day passes are $20 and VIP passes are $100. Fans can get early bird tickets at Solleder said in the release that these prices are for a limited time and will increase on Sept. 1.

"Our celebration of pop culture and comics brings together a diverse audience that loves everything from Batman to 'Stranger Things,' Pac-Man to Mario Smash Bros, Dungeons and Dragons to Pokemon and everything in between," he said in the release.

"This year we are featuring a return visit by Bumblebee, the spectacular 10-foot robot cosplay character who was such a hit at Spa-Con 3. A photo of Bumblebee arriving at Spa-Con 3 by Spa-Con photographer Alejandro Martinez of Hot Springs won the 2018 AlFiE award for Best Photo."

Solleder said Spa-Con provides "possibly the best people-watching fun in the state. It has hosted celebrities from 'Star Trek,' 'Twin Peaks,' 'Battlestar Galactica,' and 'Stranger Things,' not to mention, NASA scientists and 10-foot tall robots."

An average of 5,000 fans have attended each edition of Spa-Con, Solleder said in the release, and at least that many are anticipated for the 2019 event.

Local on 02/11/2019

Print Headline: Early bird Spa-Con 4 tickets now available

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