Random Access – Show #6 – Chapel Con Hits Albert Lea, MN

Let’s be honest here… I like meeting famous people. About 6 months ago I was driving home from God-Knows-Where and saw a poster for something called “Chapel Con 2017.” Now, I’m not a CosPlay person and really don’t get into the costumes and all of that stuff but the poster caught my eye because of the name “Lou Ferrigno!” It was right then and there I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of the poster and put the event in my Google Calendar.

Fast forward several months and now I’m seeing Facebook posts and billboards on the event. Added to that is Married With Children’s David Faustino who played Bud Bundy and I’m all over that. SO, I finally bought the tickets for the wife and I to attend, given the fact that I don’t really think she knew anyone who was going to be there — but she played along.

I bought the standard admission ticket and we rode the shuttle to the event. No big deal, but I could have seen how some people wouldn’t care to ride the school bus. By the way, when did school bus seats get so small?? It’s a given that Becky and I didn’t share a seat.

Once inside there were all kinds of people playing “dress up” but they were VERY cool. I can tell that some people REALLY take this seriously — and good for them. For me, this is a hobby and it takes the place of other things I guess I could be doing that cost more money. We don’t smoke and don’t party too much anymore, so we take in shows like these as a hobby.

The first person I had to meet was Lou Ferrigno who played The Incredible Hulk. His handshake was SOOOOO soft. It wasn’t girly or wimpy, it was just soft. I knew that he could crush my hand like a grape, so thankfully, he took it easy on me. He didn’t say much, I made small talk like “Have you been to Minnesota before?” He said, “Yes, but not this area.” and I asked him if he ever had Spam and he said “No, but I heard it’s very good.” (Obviously, he never had Spam before.) He seemed a bit irritated that there was no WiFi and that’s an issue that Gilbert (the organizer of the event) told be that he would rectify in the future. A picture WITH him was $40 and an autograph was $40. I had a picture with him first…went over in the corner and cried and then went back to have him sign a photo. The sticker shock was a bit much for him.

Next, I went to hunt down David Faustino, who played Bud Bundy. What a neat guy. We chatted about mutual people we had in common through various autograph shows and he was really nice to talk to. He had a picture/autograph package set up, so his price was a bit more tolerable and made me feel better about the event. Sure, stars have to cover their expenses, but if their prices are too high, no one will spend the money — it’s a vicious cycle. I later found out that on Monday, David Faustino and his friends came down to Clear Lake and rented a pontoon and took in the day on the lake. Another example of the economic impact that Chapel Con had on the region, NOT just Albert Lea.

We looked at the various vehicles, ran into some friends, then headed for the bus. I did see other stars there and pro wrestlers, but since I didn’t have a connection with them, we just looked around. There were over 100 vendors and since I knew a few of them, we chatted about the event. The ones I talked to were very happy and talked “next year” type of things.

I’m VERY positive that Chapel Con 2018 will be better and look forward to attending. This is a good thing for not only Albert Lea, but for Southern Minnesota and North Iowa to get behind. See you next year…. WHOA Bundy!!


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