HOT SPRINGS NATIONAL PARK, Arkansas — Ever see a robot run 3.1 miles? How about Wonder Woman? Or The Flash?
You’re liable to see all three Saturday, September 21, when the Second Annual Tri-Lakes CASA Spa-Con Superhero 2K Fun Run and 5K race is sent dashing through the heart of the city by official starter actress Michelle Harrison, star of “The Flash” television series.
The family-friendly event will be held in conjunction with Spa-Con IV, the three-day multi-genre comics and pop culture convention being held at the Hot Springs Convention Center.
Funds raised through sponsorships and entry fees will go directly to Tri-Lakes CASA (Court-appointed Special Advocates), which serves children in Garland, Hot Spring and Grant Counties. The registration fee for the 2K Fun Run is $10 for individuals. Registration for the 5K is $35 per runner and includes a T-shirt.
“Walking is okay, too,” said Lindsay Mulkey, executive director of Tri-Lakes CASA. “We’re promoting this as an opportunity to ’Be a Caped Crusader for Kids.’”
“The fun run was hugely popular during the 2018 Spa-Con,” said Bill Solleder, marketing director for Visit Hot Springs and one of the founders of Spa-Con. “We expect even more fans to show up in costumes for this year’s event. We’re adding a timed 5K run this year. You don't have to be an athlete to join in the fun.”
The registration table will open at 8 a.m. for packet pickup and the run starts at 9:30 a.m. with Michelle Harrison as the official starter. Harrison is one of the featured guests at this year’s Spa-Con.
Packet pickup is also available Friday, September 20, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Convention Center.
“We’re excited to partner again with Spa-Con to raise awareness and funds with a fun event that supports a great cause,” Mulkey said. “This year we’ve added a timed 5K race and we’re looking forward to seeing what costumes the runners come up with.”
Southern Bancorp is the presenting sponsor of the event. Other sponsors include Crawford Law Firm and Visit Hot Springs.
Fun Run participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite superhero. The first 100 children and 100 adults to register will receive a custom superhero cape and mask, and all registered runners/walkers will receive a complimentary Saturday Day Pass to Spa-Con.
The 2K Fun Run course and the 5K will begin at the Convention Center. To register, visit the events page at www.tri-lakescasa.org.
Tri-Lakes CASA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of abused and neglected children in the court system. Its mission is to provide trained volunteer advocates to safeguard the best interests of the children in dependency-neglect cases by providing factual information to guide decisions made on their behalf. An affiliate of the national and state CASA organizations, Tri-Lakes CASA relies on grants and donations for daily operations and program support.
Spa-Con annually attracts more than 5,000 fans for three days of fun at the Convention Center and Bank OZK Arena.
Hours for the event are: Friday, September 20, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for a Cybertronic Spree concert; Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Sunday, September 22, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Spa-Con IV tickets are available at www.spa-con.org. Early-bird tickets are on sale for Spa-Con IV at www.spa-con.org. Weekend passes good for the entire convention are $25; day passes are $20, and VIP passes are $100. The ticket prices will increase September 1. After September 1 the tickets will be: VIP Pass - $125; Weekend Pass - $35; Saturday Pass - $25; Sunday Pass - $20; Showdown Pass - $25; Concert Only - $10; “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening - $10.
Barry Bostwick, star of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” will be the special guest on Saturday, September 21, and will give the special introduction to a “fully interactive” screening of “Rocky Horror” at Bank OZK Arena Saturday evening at 9:30.
Harrison, star of The CW’s hit show, “The Flash,” will be the featured guest celebrity Sunday, September 22.
Harrison, who has more than 80 movies and TV shows to her credit, will meet fans in a question-and-answer session at noon September 22 in Room 207 at the Convention center. At 1 p.m. she will be available for photographs in Room 201. And at 2 p.m. she will meet and greet VIP ticket holders in Room 209, according to Solleder.
Robotic rock ‘n’ roll band Cybertronic Spree will kick off Spa-Con IV with a free concert on Friday, September 20.
Spa-Con IV also will feature a return engagement by Bumblebee, the spectacular 12-foot tall cosplay character who helped Spa-Con reap an award from the Arkansas Festival and Events Association.
Solleder said, “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.
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 12-foot-tall robots.”