Edmonton’s Shaw Conference Centre was taken over yesterday by thousands of dedicated hobbyists and even a few stormtroopers.

It marked the seventh year of the Edmonton Collectible Toy and Comic Show, the largest of its kind in Western Canada.

The show featured more than 100 vendors, a number of special guests, and panels and seminars taught by industry professionals.

“Every year we have nothing but positive reactions from people,” said Shane Turgeon, organizer of the show. “Last year we had unprecedented attendance, and that was in light of the worst spring snowstorm in 20 years.”

Turgeon hoped about 4,000 to 5,000 people would attend, though figures weren’t immediately available.

“People are hobbyists because this stuff makes them happy,” said Jay Bardyla, owner of Happy Harbor Comics. “At the end of the day the most significant thing you can do is just to enjoy your downtime, enjoy your leisures and be happy with your hobby.”

One of the special guests at the show was James Kyson Lee, who plays Ando on the hit TV show Heroes.

“I love coming to these because I get to actually meet the fans and they get to ask questions,” Lee said. “We’re a very fan-driven show, so I really appreciate the support and the love that they give us.”

This was Lee’s first time at the show, and his first time visiting Edmonton.

“It’s great, everyone is super-nice, and it’s a really kind of chill city,” he said.

There were many costumed fans at the show, including several from a group called Vader’s Fist 501st Legion. The legion is a volunteer club formed to bring together Star Wars costume enthusiasts. One of those was Leland Brumea, who was wearing a sandtrooper costume that cost him about $1,500.

“Kids are a little bit scared but they love it,” he said. “The parents are probably more into it than the kids are, but most of them recognize what we are.”

Brumea joined the legion in September of last year and has travelled to all the major conventions with the group. He has also performed at charity events.

“We’re there for the kids and to put a smile on people’s faces,” he said.