Backstreet boys

90s pop culture stars are coming to Hartford this weekend

The Connecticut Convention Center goes back about a quarter of a century in time with ’90s Con, a pop culture convention that reminds us that the decade offered more than grunge rock and “friends.”

The convention, which runs from March 11-13, celebrates TV shows and, to a lesser extent, movies and music from the 1990s. There are contests, vendors and non-stop photo ops.

The Hartford Convention Center didn’t even exist in the 1990s; construction of the building did not occur until 2001, although it has been in the planning stage since the late 1980s.

Among the special guests at ’90s Con:

  • The four main stars of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch”: Melissa Joan Hart, who played the title role; Beth Broderick and Caroline Rhea, who played her aunts; Nate Rickert (Harvey; and Jenna Leigh Green (Sabrina’s nemesis Libby) will meet for a panel discussion at 11 a.m. Saturday.

  • Four “Full House” cast members: Candace Cameron Bure, Dave Coulier, Andrea Barber and Scott Weinger – all of whom are on the show’s “Fuller House” update. Everyone will take part in a roundtable on the show on Saturday at 4 p.m.

  • The three Lawrence brothers, all of whom were part of “Brotherly Love”: Joey (Joey from “Blossom”), Matthew (Jack Hunter from “Boy Meets World”) and Adam (Tuck Gronic from the movie “Jack Frost”). The “Mrs. Doubtfire castmates “Mara Wilson and Lisa Jakub will join all the brothers for a combined Lawrence/Doubtfire panel at noon on Saturday.

  • Holly Marie Combs and Brian Krause of “Charmed,” in a chat on the show Saturday at 2 p.m.

  • Lacey Chabert, Neve Campbell and Scott Wolf, for a “Party of Five” panel Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

  • Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, Trina McGee and Will Friedle of “Boy Meets World”; this sign is 3 p.m. Saturday.

  • ‘Family Matters” Reginald VelJohnson, Jo Marie Payton, Darius McCrary and Kellie Williams, sharing a panel at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

  • A slew of Nickelodeon stars: Kel Mitchell (from “Kenan and Kel,” reading his book “Blessed Mode” Sunday at noon, Danny Tamberelli (Little Pete from “The Adventures of Pete and Pete”), Lori Beth Denberg (“Everything that”).

  • “The All New Mickey Mouse Club” Mouseketeers Nikki DeLoach, Dee Dee Magno Hall, Tony Lucca, Chasen Hampton, Damon Pampolina, Jennifer McGill and Lindsey Alley. This is the version of the club that operated from 1989 to 1995, and which will be recalled during a round table on Friday at 5 p.m.

  • Two of the Backstreet Boys (Nick Carter and AJ McLean), two members of TLC and one (T-Boz and Chilli) plus N’Sync’s Joey Fatone, chatting with each other at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

  • Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson from the ‘Back to the Future’ films (the third of which was released in 1990 – later that decade they were known for ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘Caroline in the City’ respectively). They talk about their career (which includes a Christmas movie they made together in Connecticut last year) at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

  • Jason Marsden and Vinessa Shaw from “Hocus Pocus” plus Kimberly J. Brown from another supernatural comedy, “Halloweentown.” Their panel is Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

  • Voice artist Jim Cummings, puppeteer Bill Diamond and SFX artist Tyler Green provide talks and demonstrations.

  • Comic artists Mike DeCarlo, Rags Morales and Jeremy Clark as well as Archie Comics co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit. Silberkleit, DeCarlo and the stars of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” join in a celebration of Archie Comics (which celebrated its 80th birthday last year) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

  • Christy Carlson Romano, no longer a star of the 2000s in fact, of “Kim Possible” and “Even Stevens”. She’s billed as the “official host” of the ’90s Con.

Other events include a 90s video game tournament, a “Girl Power” exhibition, a dance party with DJ Tre and more. There is a full program of photo opportunities with the stars, individually and in groups.

Two ’90s-themed contests are hosted by Caroline Rhea: a cosplay contest on Saturday afternoon with Lacey Chabert, Kimberly J. Brown and Kellie Williams among the judges and a “Trivia Showdown” on Sunday with “Sabrina” and “Boy Meets World”. actors.

Just reading the list of participants is a fun game of 90s trivia – an encouraging game since most of these artists are still active, in some cases still playing the same characters.

The 90s vision extends to convention sponsors, which includes ball manufacturer Koosh.

“’90s Con” runs March 11-13 at the Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Blvd, Hartford. Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required for admission. A weekend pass costs $120; Friday passes are $35; Saturday and Sunday daily passes are $55; children’s passes cost between $5 and $15. Some passes may be sold out. Other ticket options are available. More information is at thats4entertainment.com.

Christopher Arnott can be reached at [email protected].