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True 'Dead'-ication: Walker Stalker Con Feeds Fans' Addiction

By Tony Peregrin in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 20, 2015 5:00PM

Dead Heads are shuffling into Chicago next weekend. No, not the 420-friendly fans of the shaggy psychedelic rockers—that Dead show goes down July 3-5 at Soldier Field. These Dead Heads—devotees of the undead in AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead—will swarm Navy Pier Feb. 21-22 to pick the brains of cast members at a variety of panel sessions, photo ops, and autograph meet-and-greets.

Fan access to celebrity guests is a primary focus of the event, according to Michael Guthas, media relations manager for the event, which features stops in seven cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, and San Francisco. An estimated 25,000 Dead Heads are expected to attend Walker Stalker Con in Chicago this year, according to Guthas.

Confirmed guests include Chandler Riggs (“Carl Grimes”); Steven Yeun (“Glenn Rhee”); Melissa McBride (“Carol Peletier”); Emily Kinney (“Beth Green”) and others. (Just a heads-up: previously scheduled fan-favorite Danai Gurira, who plays the katana-wielding “Michonne,” is now unable to attend the Chicago event.)

In addition to panel sessions and photo ops—be sure to have your photo taken in front of the “screen accurate” reproduction of Dale’s RV—Chandler Riggs and family will sing a “rock and roll revue,” and Emily Kinney will also perform a concert for her fans as well. (Paging the other Dead Heads—We’re guessing these special musical events would be best experienced at or around 4:20.)

Launched in Atlanta in 2013, Walker Stalker Con is the brain child of attorney James Frazier and producer/entrepreneur Eric Nordhoff. The two cooked up the idea for the popular Walker Stalker podcast—and by extension the con—after visiting The Walking Dead set for the filming of the season three finale.

A little known fact about Frazier and Nordhoff: They actually bonded over the TV show Lost months before The Walking Dead started lurching across the minds and hearts of AMC viewers. The guys’ Lost fandom is reflected in many of the guest rosters for Walker Stalker Con, including Chicago’s, which features a handful of Lost actors—Henry Ian Cusick (“Desmond”), Harold Perrineau (“Michael”), Nestor Carbonell (“Richard), and Mira Furlan (“Danielle”).

Guthas’ advice for having the ultimate Walker Stalker Con experience? “Plan ahead,” he said. “We have a survival guide available for download from our website that lists all the events throughout the weekend.”

2015 Walker Stalker Con is on Feb. 21-22 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave, and tickets are still available.