By Meghan Reyes
Sharks have yet again infested Tampa Bay; SharkCon is returning for the seventh year of shark-filled fun for all ages. The convention will be held at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa.
“The idea for SharkCon all started because I went to a comic con,” Spencer Steward, founder of SharkCon, said.
Steward has a background in marine science. He wanted to create an event similar to comic con; however, instead of focusing on popular culture, the event would focus on marine life and conservation. The goal of SharkCon is to make learning about marine life exciting.
“I think a lot of times when people think about education, they don’t think it can be fun,” Steward said, “I based SharkCon on the idea that learning about the ocean can be fun.”
SharkCon 7 will feature a plethora of activities for all ages. The event will feature different speakers ranging from scientists to photographers. Children will have the opportunity to pet sharks and other sea creatures, as well as experience slides and other fun activities. There will also be several vendors, including scuba instructors and stationary stalls.
“I wanted to get some actors from shark movies,” Steward said, “Jaws is the original shark movie, so I figured I should attempt to reach out to those actors.”
Jaws is one of the original shark movies. During SharkCon, Richard Dreyfuss, who played Dr. Matthew Hooper, will hold a Q&A before a Jaws screening event. Ticket holders will have a chance to meet Dreyfuss after the viewing. This event is an after-hours, separate ticket event.
“With the pandemic, some of our vendors dropped out,” Steward said, “We now have about 150 vendors, including Gatorland, Seaworld and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Foundation.”
With the pandemic coming to an end and the world slowly opening back up, SharkCon 7 is a way for shark enthusiasts of all ages to sink their teeth into marine conservation.
Tickets for SharkCon 7 are available for purchase at www.showclix.com/event/sharkcon-2020 and can be bought at the box office on both days of the event. The event will be held from Saturday, August 7 at 9 a.m. to Sunday, August 8 at 5 p.m. Ticket prices range from $4.95 one-day child tickets to $200 Richard Dreyfuss VIP meet and greet tickets. All ticket sales are final and will not be refunded unless the event is canceled.