Steel City Con, one of the largest pop culture and comic conventions in the nation and exclusive to the Monroeville Convention Center, is under new management.
The event was recently taken over by Denise DeSimone of Uniontown and Bob Stein of Gibsonia.
Stein is executive director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence.
DeSimone is the founder of several companies, including C-leveled, a strategic marketing firm in Pittsburgh.
They acquired the convention series from longtime promoter Dominic Alessandria last fall, and are gearing up for their second event next month.
“The previous owner did a great job of getting it to where it is,” DeSimone said. “Our job is to take it to the next level. This is new for us. It’s been great. Bob and I are good friends. His skillset and my skillset seem to mesh nicely. It just seemed like the right thing for us at the right time.”
Their first show was in December. Steel City Con returns April 12-14 to 209 Mall Blvd.
About 750 vendors and artists are expected to participate all three days.
DeSimone handles most of the marketing and promotion while Stein books the celebrity guests and assists with other operations.
“We’re really excited about the lineup that we have this April,” DeSimone said. “We’ve had a lot of great response and a lot of people have already pre-bought some tickets. I give all the credit to my partner.”
Celebrities scheduled include the iconic William Shatner, Corey Feldman, Rob Schneider, Barry Bostwick, Lori Petty and WWE Hall of Famers Jim Ross and Mark Henry.
five members of “The Office” TV show are scheduled to appear. They are Leslie David Baker, Oscar Nunez, Kate Flannery, Creed Bratton and Brian Baumgartner. Baker is known for his role as Stanley Hudson, Flannery as Meredith Palmer, Baumgartner as Kevin Malone and Nunez and Bratton as themselves.
DeSimone said they took a poll on the event’s Facebook page, accepted celebrity suggestions via email and plan to go after the most requested guests.
“We try to make sure everybody’s tastes are covered,” she said. “We really do care about what the fans want. This really is a fun, family experience. You’ve got costume contests. You’ve got trivia contests … This show really wouldn’t be what it is without these fans.”
Steel City Con also hits a milestone this year. It turns 30 in August.
Discount tickets are available through March 17. More information is available at steelcitycon.com.