Do you ever wish you were in one of those Christmas movies? … The Christmas trees and decorations, carolers, warm fireplaces, your favorite holiday movie stars … This past weekend, November 8-10, at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison, NJ, attendees of the first ever Christmas Con were able to experience it all! From panels, autographs, and photo ops with fan-favorite actors and actresses to free apple cider and festive photo opportunities, holiday vendors and fun events like a tree lighting ceremony, this weekend was a great way to get in the holiday spirit!
Christmas Con was put on by That’s4Entertainment, which was created by four women who wanted to bring “their love of entertainment to a new and innovative platform by [specializing] in conventions and events that focus on creating meaningful and memorable experiences for both fans and celebrity guests alike.” The convention was sponsored by Hallmark Channel, AfterBuzz TV’s The Christmas 24/7 Network, and Community Magazine in Monmouth County.
From the actors and actresses, to the writers, and even podcasters, over 20 guests were in attendance, including Lacey Chabert, Jonathan Bennett, Jackée Harry, Alicia Witt, Chad Michael Murray, Jack Wagner, Melissa Joan Hart, and Danica McKellar. The convention opened with a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, hosted by Jonathan Bennett with special guest Lacey Chabert on Friday night. You can take a look at Bennet’s video of the ceremony below!
Saturday consisted of Q&A panels throughout the day as well as an Ugly Sweater Showdown presented by AfterBuzz TV’s The Christmas 24/7 Network and hosted by Bennett. There was even a little Christmas surprise as Daniel Franzese showed up at Chabert and Bennett’s (Mean Girls) panel for a little reunion and the audience got an extra treat as Bennett performed a little Mean Girls “Jingle Bell Rock” choreography! The convention day ended with a holiday concert hosted by Bennett featuring Alicia Witt with special guest, Paul Greene.
Throughout the day on Sunday, Jacklyn Collier and Shawlini of Hallmark Channels’ official podcast, Bubbly Sesh, moderated the Q&A panels with the guests, including Danica McKellar, Rachel Boston, Erin Krakow, Paul Greene, Jack Wagner, Andrew Walker, and Jesse Metcalfe. There was also a “Creating Christmas” panel moderated by reviews editor, author, podcast co-host, and senior programmer for Outfest, Alonso Duralde! He was joined by Joanna Wilson, a TV historian who specializes in Christmas Entertainment, and Hallmark movie writers Julie Sherman Wolfe, Alys Murray, and Joany Kane.
One of the most fun and entertaining parts of the Sunday schedule was Gingerbread Wars hosted by, you guessed it, Jonathan Bennett! Attendees were able to enter the contest to win the grand prize of $1,000. Lacey Chabert and Nikki DeLoach judged the 11 entries that were on display and chose the top three (Tish Calla, Rachel Bailey & Gay Longo, Laura Fazzio). The audience’s applause then determined the winner (Rachel Bailey & Gay Longo)! Every gingerbread baker who entered, from child to adult, was super talented and Bennett’s hosting and quick jokes were hilarious and had the audience laughing the whole time! Below you can take a look at the 11 entries, including the winning creation!
Christmas Con 2019 was so much fun and we can’t wait for next year! Keep an eye out for the convention’s 2020 dates in New Jersey and more cities!