Much like the monster that is its namesake, BlobFest just keeps growing.
The Colonial Theater's 15th annual BlobFest opened in Phoenixville Friday night with a screening of the movie, followed by the annual run-out from the theater to commemorate the famous scene from the movie. The fun continued Saturday with the street fair, fire extinguisher parade, costume contest and more.
'Last year, I think we really turned a corner with just an impeccable Friday night and Saturday night show,' said Chuck Francisco, aka Dash Daring, the host of the festival's main stage events. 'People got so excited, and it got us excited.'
The annual three-day festival celebrates the 1958 horror film 'The Blob,' which starred Steve McQueen and was filmed in part in Phoenixville. Each year, Bridge Street is closed off between Main and Gay streets for the street fair, hot rod show and other events. This year's street fair featured new vendors with more sci-fi and horror merchandise.
'We really expanded Sunday,' Francisco, who is also on the BlobFest Committee, added. 'It used to be just a showing of 'The Blob.' Now it's a double feature with a Q and A with the filmmakers; definitely worth another night in the hotel.'
Another major draw was the annual costume contest, featuring 16 groups and individuals showing off their monstrous and magnificent getups, including Battra, Mecha-Godzilla, Mothra and many others.
One BlobFest attendee wore a robed costume that was at least 10 feet tall, complete with a skull head and creepy accompanying music.
Tinfoil hats were also plentiful, thanks in part to Phoenix Village Art Center's tinfoil hat contest. Their winner was Stephanie Atkins of Philadelphia, a repeat winner whose large masterpiece was shaped like Slimer from Ghostbusters.
Brothers Zach and John Laurente both agreed that the best part of BlobFest is the people.
'It's always such a good vibe,' John said. 'The atmosphere is great. You get to meet a lot of interesting people from different walks of life.
'I'd say it's gotten bigger and better,' he added. 'It's never a bad time.'
Lauren-Alice Lamanna and Ryan Walker, regulars to the festival, came from Philadelphia to enjoy the day.
'It's grown in leaps and bounds,' Walker said. 'It started out with, like, one showing, I think, and now it's this three-day event. I love that the shows sell out, which is really cool, and I think it's really helped Phoenixville.'
Lamanna agreed, saying she's just happy to see the Colonial getting so much support.
One of this year's special guests, Chris Mihm, came all the way from Minnesota for the festival.
Mihm is a writer and director of films that pay homage to the sci-fi and horror films of the 1950s. His 2013 movie 'The Giant Spider' is being screened after Sunday's showing of 'The Blob' at 2 p.m., followed by a Q and A with Chris and the filmmakers.
'This is, I think, one of the coolest experiences in what I do,' he said from behind his table of 'Mihmiverse' merchandise at the street fair. 'I do a lot of conventions, and they're conventions, you know? But this is so much more true to the 1950s feel of my movies. Like drive-ins are always really cool because they have that '50s vibe that's so quintessential to these films, and this is right up there with that.'
Francisco agreed that the retro atmosphere is one of the most important things the festival brings.
'I think there's a lot of '50s nostalgia resurgence that's coming up now, and [the festival's] focused on a '50s horror monster film, but we've got a lot of '50s nostalgia here, too - hot rods, a rockabilly band, vendors with period merchandise. So there's really something for everyone here,' he said.
That's really helped the festival grow, he added. And as it's grown, it's drawn more attention and pulled B film fans from around the region.
'[Friday night] there was a helicopter here for the run-out,' he said, referring to the CBS Philly news chopper that filmed the event for the 11 o'clock news. 'This has really gotten huge.'