The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 6, 2012

Sci-Fi in the Valley Con moving to Ebensburg recreational center

— Johnstown’s first ever science-fiction convention will now become Ebensburg’s first ever science-fiction convention.

Sci-Fi in the Valley Con coordinator Casey Bassett of South Fork said he recently learned about licensing fees for events taking place in the city. Called “peddler’s fees,” they exact a $150 charge on anyone setting up a dealer’s booth at local events. Bassett said it would be nearly impossible to get all his guests, artists and dealers to put up this fee and that he was worried he would have to cancel his convention entirely.

"I talked to numerous organizations and they'd never heard about a fee like this,” said Bassett.

Bassett never actually spoke to City Manager Kristen Denne about the situation but in an email response he received, Denne said this ordinance has been in place for “some time.”

“The City of Johnstown is in no way hindering the progress of the Sci-Fi Convention. Anyone who is a for profit entity that participates in exhibitions, conventions or festivals is responsible to pay the vendor fee.  This promoter is not responsible for this fee, it is the responsibility of the vendor,” said Denne.

Instead, Bassett chose to pick up and move. Sci-Fi in the Valley Con will still take place May 18-20, but at a new location: The North Central Recreation Center along Route 422 in Ebensburg.

Bassett said he still expects full participation. He's been in contact with all the guests, artists and dealers - so far, none have backed out. Bassett said there's even plenty of free parking around the event's new venue.

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