Pop culture event filling gap in Prince Albert in conjunction with upcoming street fair

Ryan Richard grew up with a love of comics in Prince Albert and now co-owns a comic book store in Saskatoon. -- Ryan Richard/Submitted

Growing up in Prince Albert, Ryan Richard would hunt for comic books at garage sales.

An industry that was experiencing a dip at the time suddenly saw a resurgence in the mid-90s, when Richard went from being the nerdy kid to the cool kid.

To him, though, it didn’t matter how people viewed him. He would always stand by his love for pop culture.

“Pop culture is just stories, and we all have them. It doesn’t matter what culture you’re in, so on and so forth. There’s a reason why the entertainment industry is, like, the biggest industry. We can all relate to it,” he said.

“It allowed me to escape into a world of inspiration, empowerment.”

Richard is the co-owner of Comic Book Warehouse in Saskatoon.

It’s one of over 30 vendors from across Saskatchewan coming together for the Prairie Pop Culture Celebration as part of Prince Albert’s street fair next weekend. The shop is also sponsoring the show.

The event will feature all things pop culture: comic books, art, toys, collectibles, games and handmade items, such as earrings.

Other than Tramp’s Music and Books, Richard said the world of pop culture was quite bare in Prince Albert when he was young. The Prairie Pop Culture Celebration will make the industry more accessible to people in the north, he said.

“The really striking thing within this is that you get people from all walks of life, and I mean literally all walks of life. We have people who come into the shop that are lawyers, that are construction workers, that are even homeless,” said Richard.

“It transcends all of those things that keep us separated.”

Saskatoon’s Bob MacIntyre is the creator of the Prairie Pop Culture Celebration.

He’s held similar events on a smaller scale for years, but took the plunge on hosting a large-scale event in Saskatoon in April. It was a success, so he teamed up with the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District to bring more pop culture to the city.

“So many people inquired about the possibility of a northern show,” said MacIntyre. “It seemed like there was a need.”

“I just want to make it the best one-day show for people in the Prince Albert area to attend, regardless of your age or interests, maybe they love comic books or Star Wars or maybe handmade items.”

The 501st Legion Badlands Garrison, a Star Wars costuming organization, will also be at the event for photo opportunities in support of the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

Like Richard, MacIntyre said pop culture encourages people to embrace their true selves.

“Sometimes people that have the same interest… don’t have an outlet to go and express themselves. This is the perfect opportunity. There’s no judgement,” he said.

“You can be whoever you want to be.”

MacIntrye said he has plans to expand the Prairie Pop Culture Celebration in the future, including taking the show to Regina in the fall.

The event will be held at 925 Central Avenue, across from Fresh Air Experience, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 17. Adults cost $5, and children 12 and under are free with an adult admission.