‘Riverdale’ Convention Comes To Chicago: Review & Highlights

Since premiering in January 2017 on The CW, the Archie Comics-based show Riverdale has proven to be a hit. The show follows Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and co. as they navigate the halls of Riverdale High while also dealing with serial killers, gangs, and cults along with the usual high school drama. Many fans are left on the edge of their seats at the end of every episode and season, which just had its season three finale.

Along with a new hit show comes conventions where the stars meet and greet with fans, taking pictures and talking on panels. Last year, Creation Entertainment, known for its SupernaturalThe Vampire Diaries, and Once Upon a Time conventions, cranked out the first two Riverdale conventions and this year, they’re back for more, with three more all in June 2019, with Chicago June 1-2, Dallas June 8-9, and Whippany June 29-30.

I had the pleasure of going to the Chicago area convention at The Westin O’Hare in Rosemont and right from the beginning, I could tell it was going to be a great weekend.


The Guests

When the Riverdale Chicago Convention was announced back in January, three of the “Core Four” were scheduled to appear. KJ, Cole, and Lili were all going to attend, along with Lochlyn Munro (Hal Cooper) who would be hosting both days. As the convention got closer, a couple more guests were announced, including Martin Cummins (Sheriff Tom Keller) and Tiera Skovbye (Polly Cooper).

However, just a few weeks before the convention, Lili Reinhart, unfortunately, had to cancel due to professional reasons. Nearly a week later, it was announced former One Tree Hill star and current Riverdale cult leader Chad Michael Murray (Edgar Evernever) would be joining for Saturday. Soon after, KJ Apa had to cancel his Saturday appearance due to filming but would still be appearing on Sunday. The Thursday before the convention after the schedule had been posted, it was announced KJ had to cancel his appearance.

I was nervous. The convention was in two days, two huge guests had canceled, only five guests were slated to appear. Creation said they were actively finding replacements, but I didn’t know how that would go since half the cast was going to be in Paris that same weekend for another Riverdale convention. After my friend and I drove into Chicago from Wisconsin on Friday and were all checked into our hotel, I found out the company managed to get three more guests added to the schedule. Jordan Calloway (Chuck Clayton) and Zoé de Grand Maison (Evelyn Evernever) were appearing on Saturday, and Rob Raco (Joaquin DeSantos) was appearing on Sunday.

Each guest was sweet, funny, and significantly interacted with fans, whether it’d be answering questions during their panel, talking to them during autographs or doing funny poses during photo ops.


Q&A Panels

One of the best things about any fan convention is the panels. Each panel is usually about 45 minutes long. Fans can stand on either side of the stage and ask a question, as long as it’s appropriate.

One of my favorite panels that I saw was the special “Gold” Panel (for those who purchased a Gold Package) with Cole Sprouse and Rob Raco on Sunday morning. With Rob being added two days before, I didn’t really know what to expect. It was chill and intimate since there weren’t as many of us. Obviously, everyone was pretty excited about the panel because of Cole, as was I since I’ve been a fan since his Suite Life days. It was nice getting that extra half hour with him and Rob since they’d only be doing individual Q&As for everyone else later on in the day and there were no duo photo ops with them. It was the only time they were on stage together. A lot of the questions were directed to Cole only, which started to get funny because Cole would be happy and Rob would be pretending to be upset. When asked about the upcoming season, Rob kept saying he didn’t know since his character is *SPOILER ALERT* dead. I loved seeing them onstage together and getting that extra 30 minutes with them. It was a great way to spend the second/last day of the convention.

Cole Sprouse and Rob Raco at Riverdale Chicago 2019

Megan Behnke


Meet & Greet

For any Creation Entertainment convention, you can bid online on a meet and greet or VIP experience. These meet and greets are usually 30 minutes long and have between 10-20 spots. Depending on the actor, final bids can range anywhere between $150-$700, even more. Some sell out, some don’t. For the ones that don’t, they are usually available for purchase onsite at the convention during registration. This was the case for several of the meet and greets for the Riverdale convention.

Because of guest cancellations, I was able to exchange a few of the photo ops I had purchased for other photo ops or autographs, etc. In doing so, I managed to snatch a spot for Chad Michael Murray’s meet and greet on Saturday. It was me and nine other fans sitting around a table and soon walked in Chad. It was all very chill. He asked us where we were from, talked about everything and anything from One Tree Hill to Riverdale to memes, and so on. We weren’t allowed to take pictures or videos or audio of the meet and greet, but I was okay with it because it felt like a normal conversation with a regular guy. We didn’t even realize the 30 minutes were up until someone from Creation told us. We were able to take individual selfies with Chad afterward and it was an excellent way to capture such a great moment with him.

Chad Michael Murray with fan at Riverdale Chicago 2019

Megan Behnke


Photo Ops

As are panels, photo ops are a must for every fan convention if you want to make sure the weekend lasts forever. Just like with meet and greets, the cost for photo ops depends on the actor, can range between $50-$150, sometimes even more. And depending on who’s scheduled to attend, there could be more than one guest in a photo op, a duo or group photo op, that will cost more money. But it’s worth it.

I only did three photo ops, but two that I did were very memorable. One of two photo ops that I did on Saturday was a solo with Chad. His line was long, but it was going very fast. When I got into the photo op room, I noticed he was hugging every single fan, no matter the pose, despite on Creation’s site saying that hugging the actor is not allowed except for doing a hug pose to make the line go quicker. He took his time, and I could tell he was genuine about meeting each fan. When I got up to him, he was very happy and seemed to love interacting with everyone.

The other photo op I did that was memorable was Cole’s on Sunday. Because there was a large number of photo ops sold, they called people up in groups, corresponding to the number on the photo op ticket. I was in the first group that was called, along with a new friend I had made the night before. We walked to the photo op room together and fans were excited and nervous to meet someone most of them had grown up watching. Seeing him interacting with each fan and smiling and being happy made me happy. When I got up to him, he said he liked my shirt (I was wearing a Pop’s Chock’lit Shoppe shirt) and he was so sweet to everyone he met.

Cole Sprouse with fan at Riverdale Chicago 2019

Megan Behnke


Autographs

For most of the guests, autographs were usually the last thing to happen on both days. For the top packages, Gold and Silver, a lot of the autographs came complimentary with the package. If you didn’t have either, you were able to buy autograph tickets online or onsite. For Lochlyn and Martin, they were signing at their separate booths near the vendors’ hall throughout the day.

Since I had the Gold package, I was able to get autographs from Tiera, Chad, Jordan, Zoé, Cole, and Rob. Each one personalized each autograph, making it more special. They were talking to every fan they met, taking their time. It was refreshing seeing them be so interacting with fans.


Saturday Night Karaoke

Every Creation Entertainment convention has a karaoke party either on Friday or Saturday night that includes some of the guests and fans can sign up to sing with their favorite stars.

The guests in attendance were Lochlyn, Martin, and Tiera, later joined by Jordan and Zoé. It was an hour and a half filled with singing, dancing, and joking around. Blow up guitars were brought out, everyone was having a good time. It took place in the ballroom, the first several rows of chairs were removed, so it was standing room only besides chairs on either side for VIP and disabled. Karaoke was another great way to interact with the guests and have fun, plus some of the stars even posted on their Instagram stories about it.

At the end of karaoke, after the last fan was called up, Lochlyn played the Green Day song, “Good Riddance,” on guitar. It was a nice way to end the first day of the convention.


Despite a couple hiccups with some of the guests, it was a great weekend. I got into Riverdale when it first premiered, solely for Cole Sprouse, and I absolutely loved it. You never know what to expect from this show and if you think one thing, something else completely different happens. Seeing the stars in person and interacting with them and seeing how much they absolutely adore their fans and each other makes supporting the show so much easier.

If you’re interested in going to a Riverdale convention or a different convention from Creation Entertainment, visit creationent.com.

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