The “Third Annual Smallville SuperFest” was held on August 15-17, 2014. It featured rides, attractions, and music for Superman (and comic book) fans of all ages.
Mayor Hausler, who is the Mayor of Plano, and on the Smallville SuperFest Planning Committee, explained the attendance at Smallville SuperFest 2013, “I think, total, we…had…probably from 5,000 to 7,000.” “My estimates on this year are at least 1,500 to 2,000 on Friday, and probably closer to 3,500 on all-day Saturday. [Sunday] was a little bit lower, so I don’t really have a number on today,” said Jim Martens, who is the “Smallville SuperFest” Chairman. Nicole Diaz, who is the Co-Chair of Smallville SuperFest, estimates between 7,000 and 10,000 people. “Last year…it was pretty good…it might have been as much as 10,000…it was a lot…a lot of people,” said Brad Gardner, who became involved in Smallville SuperFest because “I do the artwork for them, and come up with a few visual ideas, here and there. I did the banners, I did the brochures, and the buttons.” “Each year, it’s been growing…which is a great thing, and, also, the organizations and the community involvement in it…really grown…a lot,” said Diaz, “[Attendance is calculated] by sales from our vendors and our sales.” “Word is getting out…more advertisement…more sponsorship…more activities and organizations wanting to include [themselves] in the festival,” said Diaz. Diaz became involved when, “The mayor came to me, and asked me to come…I have a local business in town, on Main Street, and I was affected when the movie was being filmed here.”
Mayor Hausler explained what he believed to be last year’s most popular attractions: “We do the Super-Zipline…that’s always very popular…the Euro-Bungee…we did that last year, and we run it again this year, we have a lot of very specialized events…the ‘Fishing With The Mayor,’ I do at our city park…that’s very well-attended. We have the Andrew Kuebrick Run that we did today, the 5K run…there was probably 300 people in that, alone.” “Probably between the music and the Zipline…everybody loves the Zipline…the Zipline’s a lot of fun. I did it twice,” said Gardner.
This year’s Smallville SuperFest was publicized in a variety of ways. “We do a lot of Facebook…a whole lot of Facebook….we had the banners downtown, that you could see up and down the streetlights, and we’ve been passing out brochures like crazy…we had a little trifold brochure, [we] had some of them, I believe, in the Aurora Area Tourism Board. They’ve helped us a lot; we’ve made posters…had them all over town. There was [a convention going on in Chicago, in May], and it was a big convention…that Plano was involved with…[we] had a booth there, and we sent out a bunch of information there, as well…and, also, in Metropolis…we sent somebody a bunch of posters and brochures…in Metropolis, so…the more Superman people there were…the more they’d see it,” said Gardner, “Some of them on local stations, I think it was WBIG, there’s a Chicago station…I was driving to work the other day, and I listened to…WXRT…it’s a big station.” “Well, we not only did radio ads, we did press releases in our local papers. We’ve had various organizations that publicize it through their different websites and through their media outlets,” said Mayor Hausler. “[We publicize through] a local radio station, some local newspapers, and then we do the Chicago Metra area,” said Diaz, “We have a website, it’s smallvillesuperfest.com. Facebook…social networking is like the dream of it all, because it just gets the word out there so well.” “I put it on Facebook…I put it in the windows…I tell people,” said Kay Mulliner, who is a volunteer. “We had…for our advertisement book, and for the schedules, we had an abundance of turnout for that. We had seven big sponsors, and then some smaller sponsors that were involved in that, so that was a really nice thing for this year,” said Diaz.
Gardner explained what he believed to be one of the most effective advertising avenues, “It’s kind of a local festival, so I think Facebook, probably, is the best one…the social media…we’ve just been plastering it all over…that’s [kind of] how we got started in the first place…was on Facebook…everybody taking pictures and posting them on Facebook. From the movie, when they were filming the movie here, and I got a call from our mayor, and he said, ‘[Do] you [want to] start a festival going,’ and I said, ‘[Yes], I want to get in on that.’ So, a bunch of us…I took a few pictures and posted them…but some people were really doing some incredible pictures…just really neat stuff. Our former mayor took a picture of…he got in when they were filming…the whole town was on fire…helicopters with…military guys jumping off of them, flames all over the place…he got a picture of that…right during the middle of the movie…I don’t know how he did it…but he did it…and that’s his secret. That was a good one. There were other things…helicopters flying around…the occasional picture of a star posing with somebody here and there. Henry Cavill posing with just a fan. It started on Facebook, really. So, we started a Committee, and we [kind of] figured out how we were going to do it, because Plano had not had a festival in a number of years, and we thought, ‘You know…we’re missing something, here. We [have to] have some fun.’” “[We] either take the picture of, or get [a] PDF file, of posters or…it started out with our brochures…had the brochures in place, probably in April or March…just took [pictures] of it with a phone….and [posted] it. Take a picture of the front, and the back, and just [kind of] had a countdown going. We had pictures of the banners hanging up on the streetlights in town, pictures of the various posters that we’ve come up with, and just post them up…and say, ‘It’s coming…it’s coming.’ ‘Check back,’” said Gardner.
Diaz explained the cost of this year’s Smallville SuperFest, “This year is probably around $23,000-25,000, and…has come in through sponsorship. [It is]…generally [spent] on our entertainment…to be able to purchase and have things for entertainment and enjoyment for the family.” “The City does a great job with giving us the [Porta-Potties] and maintaining the streets and sanitation and everything…and that’s helped us a lot,” said Diaz. “I know that it was a little bit more expensive this year, but also we had higher revenues, too,” said Mayor Hausler. “We broke even…I know we broke even…I know we made a little bit of profit, that we’re using [toward] the next year, which is [toward] this year. Any money that we get is used [toward] revenue for the next year,” said Gardner. “It costs a bundle to put it on…it really does. I know it’s into the $20,000 [range]…it’s a lot of money. We’re thankful to our sponsors and the people that buy into the banners and the advertising, and stuff like that…without them, we wouldn’t be doing [Smallville SuperFest],” said Gardner. “Our big sponsors this year were Valley West Community Hospital, TransCanada Pipeline, the Plano Wine & Liquor…we had WBIG as our media, and WXRT, and then we also had used WSPY, which is our local Plano station,” said Diaz.
Diaz explained how the revenue from Smallville SuperFest is calculated, “Generally, [the sales from the t-shirts and so forth]…it goes between $3,500 to $5,000…last year we had a wonderful revenue, and, this year, it’s looking promising, too.” Diaz estimated that there were seven or eight different food vendors at this year’s Smallville SuperFest, “90 percent of them have been here, with us, from the start.” “The Euro-Bungee and the Zipline are the two items that cost, and then we have a minimal amount for the Kids’ Games; I think it’s 25 cents for a game. The money from the Kids’ Games goes to local…church groups…I would say non-for-profit groups that come and [manage] the games; they give the kids the ball to throw…if they’re playing golf, they get the ball back to them when they’re done, and I think it costs a quarter a game, and those individuals get to keep the money,” said Gardner. “A majority of our [clothes and merchandise vendors] have returned this year,” said Diaz.
“I would say, total, probably, between 6,000 and 8,000…maybe 10,000. We had a much bigger attendance this year, and last year was bigger than the previous year…this is only our third year, and we plan on making it bigger and better every year,” said Mayor Hausler. Diaz hopes to see 10,000 people this year. “We’re hoping it’ll be better…so, I think, maybe, we [probably have] 4,000 so far, and it’s just the middle of Saturday, so we’re getting there,” said Gardner. “We’ve had quite a few [Friday]; it started at 5 o’clock [Friday] night, and [we had] a lot [Friday] night. We’ve got a good day [Saturday],” said Mulliner.
“Brad Gardner…he does a lot of our layouts for our posters…[he has been designing] for the past 3 years for us,” said Diaz. Gardner explained the design of this year’s SuperFest posters, “Pretty much based off of last year’s…I designed the cityscape part of the poster…actually all of the poster, but the cityscape is the basic thing that changed. I made our Flag Wall bigger, and a little more prominent on it…on the right hand side of it, and I made the water tower that’s prominent in that…cityscape…bigger, and put the words, ‘Smallville’ on it. I changed that a little bit. Every year, I’ve changed just a little. Last year, I added the flag.” “My original idea was to use just an outline drawing of old buildings that resembled the downtown of ‘Smallville,’ and I’m thinking…well, we had a plain blue background the first year. The second year, I added a cloud picture…a cloudy sky…and beefed up the flag a little bit. This year, as I said, I beefed up the flag a little bit more, and moved the water tower around, which is prominent in the movie. There [were] actually two water towers in the movie, if you watched the movie…there’s one where it exists now, on the east end of town, and they computerized one on the west end of town, so it was [kind of] funny…but, [yes], I was thinking I might use actual photographs of [buildings] next year, but I don’t know,” said Gardner.
Mayor Hausler explained what was involved in planning this year’s festival, “Because everyone is a volunteer, and no one is really paid for doing this, it’s just difficult to get people to put the time in that needs to be done. Also, there are so many different entities that participate, sometimes the communication areas are not as well as they could be. So, those are [kind of] the background things that are difficult. The easiest aspect was probably, again, even though it was challenging, but the easiest aspect is having these other organizations take control of their portion of the festival. So, everything isn’t on the volunteers. Like I said, it makes it challenging, but it makes it easier.” “The SuperFest Committee is…it’s running with probably about 12 or 13 people…it’s not a really big Committee…we get a lot done. These…people are…making phone calls, getting vendors lined up…the bands lined up…they’re really great. We work with the mayor, and the city has been very helpful to us,” said Gardner. “The easiest is the entertainment, because we get great response from bands that want to play our fest. So, at this point, right now, I already have at least half the bands booked for next year, because of how many we do; we don’t want to turn it into just a music fest, so we do festival music on the weekends…Friday and Saturday night…and then Sunday we did a bluegrass jam today, and there’s the local Northern Illinois Bluegrass Association that came out and played probably 3 hours of some great music to kick off our Sunday morning,” said Martens, “The hardest part is keeping everyone working on what we need to remember to do…it’s a lot of organization things that are sometimes the hardest.” “We lost a couple of key members from our Committee…that [kind of] put a little extra burden on everybody. [The easiest thing]…I like building stuff, and I helped build the…booths for the Old Fashioned [Kids’] games…putting stuff together and working with…we got a bunch of volunteers this year, which [was] really nice…they helped out a lot…we had some big strong guys to help move some heavy stuff around…the booths for the Kids’ Games are [kind of] heavy wooden plywood and two-by-four structures, and they’re getting [kind of] heavy, so it’s [kind of] fun working together with people and having a feeling of community…it’s nice. That was the easy part, I would say,” said Gardner, “What’s real nice is some of the vendors are all coming back; they all want to be here. The same ones, again and again and again…which is nice. [We] had the Zipline 3 years in a row now, which is pretty cool. We’ve had the [Euro]-Bungree…2 years in a row…which is nice. We’ve had Superboy and Lana Lang here, 3 years in a row…which is pretty cool…which is very cool…they just love posing [for] pictures, for little kids and stuff.” “For me…it was easy…just to volunteer for the Depot,” said Mulliner. “The experience…getting more and more experience with it,” said Diaz.
Smallville SuperFest 2014 included some new attractions this year, including a Rock Wall, “The Army had brought that…that’s great. [The Wall] looks like 2 stories [tall] to me,” said Diaz. “The Rock Climbing Wall was actually brought here by the Army Reserves. I know that was very well attended. I almost was tempted to try it, but I didn’t do that. I did do the Zipline…the Super-Zipline, but the Rock-Climbing Wall…it was a new attraction for this year, and it was very popular. It had to have been at least 20 feet tall…it could have been 25…it looked like it would have been a challenge,” said Mayor Hausler. “We [had] a little girl…that was involved with that…while she was doing that, a couple of ladies had a contest, to see who could get to the top the fastest…they’ve been pretty busy all afternoon. The U.S. Army Recruiters, out of Aurora, I believe, are doing that. It was pretty neat,” said Gardner, “”All [age groups]…I think there was like an 8-year-old, [a] 6-year-old kid working on it. The two ladies that were racing looked like they were in their mid-20s…There have been people there all afternoon.” “The Army Rock Climbing Wall was a great success this year; we set them up Friday night and Saturday all day long. There was always a line; people loved it,” said Martens.
“I know there’s the Climbing Wall…the Rock Wall, and [there are] the vendors…the food vendors, and there’s a t-shirt vendor, and [there are] different bands [that are] coming in, and, [Friday] night, the bands were really good,” said Mulliner.
Other festival events included Karry a Tune Karaoke, “That was actually set up at the west end of our Depot. We had our Main Stage going, but also had the ‘Karry a Tune’ folks, which is a local DJ. He was set up back at…west end of the Depot, so that those that weren’t in the Main Stage area could be entertained with some music. There [were] quite a few, because that was during the time when we had…[a] fairly big crowd, and, it was on the west end of the grounds,” said Mayor Hausler. “I [saw] a bunch of kids over there…and grown-ups…they’re singing away…Somebody told me one little girl was really awesome,” said Gardner, “[The audience] liked it. Young kids…10…12…13…grown-ups…20s…30s…[participated].” “Everything [was sung at ‘Karry a Tune Karaoke‘]…the kids really like the ‘Frozen’ movie…so we think at least 25 kids sang that song. All ages came out…I saw very young kids, that couldn’t read a teleprompter singing karaoke, which is always fun…all the way up to…adults singing. We would like to thank ‘Karry a Tune [Karaoke]’ for doing the karaoke DJ on Saturday and the vendor area; we’ll look forward to doing something like that next year,” said Martens. “[There have been some] awesome singers…a little girl that just blew everybody away. [There was also] a photo hut, where you can do your photos and stuff, so that’s fun for the families, too,” said Diaz, “[There was a] little girl [that was] singing her heart out…she was, I believe, 10 years old, from Somonauk.” The Legion Riders was at Smallville SuperFest this year, “The Legion Riders…our local Legion has a group of motorcycle riders that do some very good things for, not only our community, but a lot of our organizations, and organizations in other communities. They raise money, and then they give the money to different charity organizations. During that event that they did, they would actually, they’d have people sit on their motorcycles, and have their pictures taken,” said Mayor Hausler. “The ‘Legion Riders’ [were] great; they were super-happy…they raised a lot of money for their Legacy fund, so we would certainly like to thank Post 395 American Legion for all that they do for the fest,” said Martens. “They’re doing a nice thing. The boy has autism, and the family has gone through some rough [times], so their fundraiser is for that. One of the members of the Legion Riders, his wife had met this boy as a patient of hers, and that’s how they started doing the fundraiser for that. That’s really been a great, great attraction. What they’re doing is, you can take photos on a Harley or on a motorcycle in front of the Wall. They’ve had a crowd, because they have three motorcycles out there, and I think a lot of people are really enjoying that attraction. I think it’s [for] everyone…all ages,” said Diaz. “They were having a lot of people that [were] posing on their motorcycles. They’ve got some vintage bikes out there. A bunch of nice guys…” said Gardner. Children’s Music With Roxanne was another attraction, “She was playing an acoustic guitar and a ukulele,” said Gardner. “Roxanne, she’s a music teacher, and she likes the ukulele, and she is really a very heartwarming person, and she is out there, playing some tunes…mostly Christian Rock,” said Diaz. “Roxanne is one of our volunteers, and she’s very willing to volunteer and do the work, and, not only plan for the event, but also she’s a very good musician. She plays the ukulele, and she sings, and she’s very talented. She was set up by the Bounce Town area, where the littler kids were, and she did a great job entertaining. [The age groups were] anywhere from 2 to 12,” said Mayor Hausler. “Roxanne…is one of the Committee members, and I was very impressed with what she had done…She brought out children’s instruments…percussion and [a] little-sized ukulele, and then the kids would come up and just start playing with the percussion things. Depending on the age of the kids, they were able to just learn a few notes on…ukulele, and play along with her on a song. So, I really think that everybody that tried that, and realized what she was doing, had a great time,” said Martens. There was also an illusionist, “He was a great performer. He was a professional; he did some card tricks, and did some different things that were pretty amazing with silverware, and that kind of thing. [The audience] enjoyed his performances. As each individual band would set up, then he would come up and do his [performance]. I would say there was probably a couple thousand [people] during his performance, that were on the ground at that time,” said Mayor Hausler. “[The Illusionist]…he was pretty good; I met him just last night…did some pretty amazing stuff…was bending silverware…with thought waves…reading people’s minds…he claimed to be a mentalist,” said Gardner, “The people…liked it…they enjoyed what he was doing…it was pretty neat. I watched him get out [of] a straitjacket…he got out of it…just like Houdini.” “[The Illusionist] did some awesome stuff…he bent a fork, he got out of a straitjacket, he did some awesome stuff [Friday] night,” said Diaz, “They enjoyed it…it was a crowd pleaser.” One of the most memorable tricks that the Illusionist did, said Diaz, is “Just that [the Illusionist] got out of that straitjacket, and…there was a boy walking around with a fork that he had bent.” “I would say, getting out of the straitjacket, [was a memorable performance] for one. It was [kind of] neat watching him bend silverware…he had a fork…and he bent the handle…pretty neat…I’ve never seen anyone do that before…the whole thing bent…like mental magnetism,” said Gardner, “”They had some kids come up and help [the illusionist] out with some things…I think they’d write down different things…he had duct tape over his eyes, so he couldn’t see what they were writing down, and he, of course, told us exactly what they wrote down. It was amazing…I don’t know how he did it…I’d say there were probably 50 or 60 people sitting in the audience…maybe more.” There was a Krypto Jello Eating Contest, “It was another fun event, another family-orientated type events, that got younger kids involved. That was one contest; we actually did two, we did a contest for the older kids, too,” said Mayor Hausler. “That was a great contest; we split it up into kids and adults this year. It’s just a fun little event where we make the contestants drink Jello through a straw. When they realize that they really can’t [drink Jello through a straw], we have them eat the rest of the Jello…so we have some fun with that event,” said Martens. There was also a Pancake Breakfast, “The Boy Scouts had the Pancake Breakfast. It was a very well-attended event. We did that at our Fire Station…There were all different age groups, anywhere from probably 3 or 4 years old to…80s,” said Mayor Hausler. There was also a Photobooth, “The Photobooth is over by ‘Karry a Tune’…you can go on [the] website and download [photos] from there. I [saw] family groups…[that] had done that…[they were taking pictures that were] silly ones and fun ones,” said Diaz. “That was free, and then everyone can go online and see the pictures that were taken there, and then download them there,” said Martens. ”There was also an Excavation of A Vehicle, “[They showed] the Jaws of Life (and so forth, of getting people out of a vehicle when it’s crashed,” said Diaz. Kryptonite Krawlers was another attraction, “[There] is a local business that does that, ‘Knee High To A Grasshopper,’ and she had a few participants this year. I think [the toddlers] just have to beat out each other off the matt,” said Diaz. There was an Ice Cream Social, “[Johnny K’s] donates that, and it’s a nice end to our festival. I think they just generally bring like a soft serve to us, like a chocolate-vanilla swirl; they donate 150 of them at the end of our festival,” said Diaz. There was also a Smallville Open Jam Session, “We have some local bluegrass participants…I’m sure we’ll have some country, and we’ll have our ukulele Roxanne,” said Diaz.
Attractions returning to the festival this year included Fishing With The Mayor, “We had…really…our best turnout. We had, actually, our biggest attendance this year, and it was because of having it with the festival, and getting a lot of children, and families…we’ve always tried to make the SuperFest a family-orientated festival, and we emphasize on doing family-orientated events,” said Mayor Hausler. “This was the best turnout that [we’ve had]…we extended the hours, and I went there…it hadn’t even started, and there were already 25…30 people there fishing. So, I know we had a great turnout. They have a great local sponsor, Plano Molding and the Wurst Kitchen, so they really help out with [Mayor Hausler‘s] ‘Fishing With the Mayor,’” said Martens. “That is just such a…[the Mayor] has such a good turnout, we expanded the hours this year, and the kids just love that…they really enjoy it. We expanded it…5 hours…last year, I think it was only 3 or 4,” said Diaz. Kids Super Inflatables was another returning attraction, “That was a very well-attended event. There were lines to get into [Kids Super Inflatables], and for the children to do that. [The age groups were] anywhere from 2 to 7, or 2 to 6. They were very young children,” said Mayor Hausler. “We set them up, and…they have a resting tent next to it. Kids from 1 to 12 or 14 can go in it…[there are obstacles]…things that you can do, and then we also have the Superman Jump House…Bounce House,” said Diaz, “It runs from 10 until 6, and I think [they’ve] really drawn a crowd. I think [we’ll] probably get 200 to 300 kids that participate with that…The younger ones love that stuff.” “They have, probably about four different bouncy tents that [kids] can climb into. That has been busy all morning and afternoon…there’s probably hundreds of kids going through that,” said Gardner, “[The age groups were] probably 10 and under…maybe 12…just young children.” There was a Kids Old Fashioned Game Area, “We were very impressed with how well-received [the ‘Old Fashioned Kids Carnival‘] was, as well,” said Martens. “There were quite a few people doing that…quite a few kids…those were, I would say, from 5 to 12 or 13 [years of age],” said Mayor Hausler. “We had 6 games…we had a golf game, we had [a] ring toss game…various…games. The activity has [increased from] last year…we have more people running them this year,” said Gardner, the age groups were “Anywhere from 5-years-old…up and up…We’ll have all of them [next year]…we might modify them a little bit.” The Phone Booth Rally was another popular attraction, “We had the phone booths set up on four corners, right behind the stage area, and right by the flag mural on our corner of Center and Main Street, and it was…I think it was better this year…more attended this year than last year. I was able to see a couple of the relays, and it’s really a neat event, because people act out the ‘Superman’ thing…going in…changing your clothes…either being Clark Kent or Lois Lane, and then getting out, and being timed for that. It’s a very fun event, and…it was very well-attended,” said Mayor Hausler. “We started that last year…that’s a lot of fun. What they do is…it’s a relay, going from one phone booth to another. We have four different costumes; we have the Clark Kent, we have Lois Lane, we have the Superman, and then we have the cheerleader, so Lois Lane when she was in high school. It’s really very comical to watch, and, this year, it was sponsored by Heartland Bank and Trust,” said Diaz. The Bike Safety Rodeo returned this year, “The Police Department…we have a miniature city that we can set up on the street, and teach young children, and older ones, the proper safety techniques for riding a bike…where to stop, when to [stop the bike], what side of the street you’re supposed to ride your bike, and all the rules of the road pertaining to biking,” said Mayor Hausler. “That’s from the Plano Police Department and the D.A.R.E. program. They map out a small town, and they even have bicycles. They teach children the safety of riding a bicycle. I think they [get] anywhere from 20-30 kids. It all varies…but mostly it’s [from] kindergarten to second or third graders, from [ages] 5 to 9 participate,” said Diaz. There was also the Andrew Kuebrich Hero Run, “That was a 5K run, and the proceeds for that go to a scholarship fund that’s in the name of Mr. Kuebrich. He was a young man in our community that passed away; his family established that. I think there [were probably 200] or 300 people that were in that,” said Mayor Hausler. “This year, we had changed the Run a little bit, with the layout, and [the runners] will end at our flag wall, and I think that participation is just as strong as it was last year. I think they had like  runners…walkers…and I think the numbers are about there this year…I’ve seen them in strollers, even,” said Diaz. Also returning this year include the Villain’s Jail: “The Villain’s Jail is a great little event where you can lock up one of your relatives or friends, and they have to beg for money to get out. So, that’s a great event that raises money for the Christopher Reeve foundation, run by Rural King, one of our local superstores,” said Martens. “It’s a lot of fun…I think they do a big fundraiser for the Christopher Reeve foundation. It’s from Rural King, one of the local merchants here,” said Diaz, “We’re going to have some tractors. We are having some old antique vehicles this year. We have the fire trucks and the service trucks. We have the police department’s hummer coming. The Army is bringing some of their Humvees. “I just feel that we’ll keep all our attractions going strong, but I’d like to add a lot more. [I attribute the returning attractions to] the success of it all, and the participation,” said Diaz.
Attractions returning to Smallville SuperFest also included the Super-Cutouts, “We had a family of…I think it was the grandparents, and then two of their children, and then their children, so it was a three-generation…took a picture in front of the wall,” said Diaz. “The kids loved the ‘Super-Cutouts’. It’s certainly hundreds of people. Every kid has to have their picture on there…and the adults love them too. We have three separate styles; so we have a ‘Supergirl,’ a ‘Superboy,’ and a ‘Superman,’” said Martens. “The Cut-Outs…those were the most popular attraction. The movie was made here, ‘Man of Steel’ was made here…there’s a lot of people that are comic book crazy, which is great…they just like the notoriety of it, I guess,” said Gardner. “That was very popular. I [saw] many people over there, getting their pictures taken. It’s another very popular attraction. One of our volunteers actually made those Cut-Outs, so there wasn’t a lot of cost to the Festival Committee, but, being located where [the Super-CutOuts are] at, where you can be by the Super-Cutouts, and then have our flag behind you as a backdrop to that picture makes it very nice,” said Mayor Hausler, “I would say anywhere from very young children, where parents have held their 1 and 2-year-olds up, to older adults that are [seniors]. It’s a very popular attraction, and it’s fun to watch people get their pictures taken.”
Gardner explained the process of creating the Super-Cutouts. “I’m the guy that made the Cutouts; I designed….my wife kind of gave me the idea, because I know they were doing it in Metropolis, years ago, and when we went through and saw one of them, I said, ‘This is great,’…stopped, had my picture taken. When we had the movie come out, 2 years ago, SuperFest came out 2 years ago, my wife said, “Here’s a picture of you posing with one of those Cut-Outs, why don’t you make some of those things?’ I said, ‘OK,’ so I came up with a ‘Supergirl,’ ‘Superboy,’ to go along with ‘Superman.’ The people love it; I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of people posing with them…just today and yesterday…another 75 or 100 today, I would say at least…I get a kick out of the little kids that climb up on those and stick their head over it,” said Gardner, “First, you have to have the visual image, so you could either draw your own…I’ve taken a couple from online…just kind of looked through and found one that I thought was appropriate, and then I print it on…I draw a picture of it on the plywood, and I put [a combination of plaster and primer] on the plywood after I cut it out, and it makes a nice smooth, flat surface to draw on. Then, I paint the various pieces of clothing, or skin, that goes on…to make it up, and draw an outline…kind of like a cartoon, in between the colors…in fact, I use a pinstriping paintbrush, like [used to be] used for cars. That works out nice…just a fun thing to do. It’s satisfying, to me, to have those, and to see people enjoying getting their pictures taken, because everybody’s Superman…everybody’s Superman or Supergirl. We placed them in front of the Flag Wall, over there, too, because it’s a great backdrop, right out of the movie.” “I [thought about] the idea of doing a ‘Zod’ and a ‘Jor-El’…I was going to do ‘Jor-El’ and ‘Zod’ in their armor, and Faora from the movie…I was going to do all those three in armor, but I got busy with other stuff, and didn’t have time to do it. I didn’t know, for sure, if it was something that would be popular or not, so I decided to just stick with Superboy, Superman, Supergirl,” said Gardner, “I know there’s been constant activity on those, all day today. Starting at 10 o’clock this morning…or 9 o’clock this morning, [there have been] people posing on them…they go pose by…the [Super]-Cutouts, and they go pose right by the Flag Wall…where it says, ‘Welcome To Smallville,’ so they’ll stand right next to the Wall, or they will go pose on the Cutouts…maybe it takes 2 minutes to pose…so that’s 30 an hour…10 hours…300. I’ve seen them newborn…a couple of weeks old, and I’ve seen [older people]…so, all ages groups go on those…they all like it…everybody wants to be Superman.”
The Super-Zipline and the Euro-Bungee are also both returning attractions at Smallville SuperFest. “They just bounce around and have fun. You have to at least weigh 40 pounds, and under 275 [pounds or so],” said Diaz. “Between the Zipline and the Euro-Bungee. [The] Euro-Bungee was more for the younger kids; the older kids and adults went on the Zipline. I was fortunate enough to be the first one down, again, this year, after it was tested, and it was really exciting and fun to do, and I’m looking forward to it next year. We had, for the Zipline; we had a steady line of people…it ran for 4 hours, and many people went down the Zipline,” said Mayor Hausler, “The Euro-Bungee was similar; it had a fairly good line…it was more for the younger kids, and I think they enjoyed having that attraction.” “The Zipline sold out the entire time…it [was] certainly 300. It [was] operated for 4 hours, so it was busy the entire time,” said Martens, “[The Euro-Bungee] was busy the entire time; it [was] operated from 4-8 on Saturday.” “The Zipline and [Euro] Bungee were well-received, and were crowded the entire time they were here,” said Martens. “This year…the Zipline and the Bungee Jumping [required tickets], and we actually lowered the price…for those rides…$5…we lowered them this year…because of the great sponsorship that we’ve had,” said Diaz. Diaz estimated the revenue from the Super-Zipline and the Euro-Bungee to be approximately $2,000. “The Zipline is very popular…Last year, [we just] included the [Euro] Bungee, so…[people] can Bungee around. “This year, the Zipline is $5. Last year, [people waiting for the Zipline and Euro-Bungee] were lined up all afternoon. They were open for 4 hours. They [have] one every couple of minutes, so maybe 30 an hour. For 4 hours, that [would] be 120,” said Gardner. Our museum has been very successful with visitors, and we’re open [the] first and third of the month, and that’s really been nice, on Saturdays, from 8-3,” said Diaz, “We’re adding new stuff…[and visitors are] encouraged to come down if they are intrigued [by] seeing what’s going on.”
“Our entertainment…everyone likes to come down to a festival and hear some great entertainment, so I would say that that is our strongest thing. Everything that we do on Saturday for kids is very well-received. Our Friday night…everything…we wouldn’t change anything on those two days,” said Martens. “This year…probably the music. Music comes second after the Superman Cutouts. We had a DJ going all day long, and pretty soon, we’ve going to have Dead River,” said Gardner. Diaz thinks the biggest attraction will be “The Zipline.” “I’m always looking forward to the Zipline…[Colleen and I] always go down to the Zipline together,” said Soffer. “As far as the attractions go, I would say, yes, the Zipline. The entire Fest…for me, it’s [kind of] like…it being kind of like a family reunion, with friends of ours from Plano that we’ve met…this going on the third year, so getting in here, and interacting with everybody, and then just being able to be wanted by them to be a part of helping volunteer, just to make it more fun for the fans, and interacting with all their guests, and the people from their hometown,” said Egan. “I would say the United States Army Rock Wall is like the best part…[have to] do the Zipline,” said Krall.
Mayor Hausler explained what in involved in maintaining the museum, “For the museum, the most difficult aspect is another thing about volunteers. Since it’s all [volunteer], we need people to have the museum [managed], we had one lady that volunteered to do it, and she spent, probably, 20 or 30 hours in there for all 3 days, and that was going…really…beyond the call of duty, but she loves being in there, and she enjoys being around the people that are going through there, so that was…it was a challenge to have a volunteer do it, but it made it easy.” The most difficult part is “[Managing] it…Warner Brothers was very generous with giving us lots of props, and then they gave us a one-hundredth scale of…when they redid [downtown Main Street]…for the movie, so we have that on display, and that’s a wonderful addition to our museum. We have so much…we have to switch it out every other month or so…I think it’s like every 3 months that they’re changing [props] out for us,” said Diaz. “The museum is pretty much in place this year…the hardest thing we had going last year was…we were planning [Smallville] SuperFest, the movie came out, and we had to [kind of] put the plans for SuperFest off so we could plan a Premiere, because we had some events we wanted to do for the Premiere of the movie. Walmart hosted a pre-movie party and they gave a bunch of the SuperFest Committee free tickets to go see the movie…which was great, and I saw it in 3-D, then I saw it in 2-D, the same night…we had a Red Carpet event, we all had tuxedos…that was kind of fun. So, we had the museum opening and the Festival to plan…for all three in one year. That was just a little much…but we got it done. This year, we’ve got a little model of downtown Smallville, that Warner Brothers donated to us the first year. The city donated to us a real nice plexiglass cover for it, so that [things don’t get moved around]. [The cover] came along this year. So, that was the worst of it last year…we had just too many things going on, and not enough people to do it. We’re always looking for volunteers to jump on board, and help us do it again, next year,” said Gardner.
There are different processes for moving props in and out of the museum. “When we first opened it up, we had a lot of stuff that was left over from the Kent House, so we’ve actually put those in storage, and brought out more of the parts that went to the construction of the set for Smallville,” said Martens. “We’ve been just rotating [props]…so, like, we had the train at one point, we had the gas station…the gas pumps…we just change things out,” said Diaz. “We’ve been switching things around, to make the museum fresh for people that have been there. We do have the museum open the first and third Saturdays of every month, from 8 in the morning, to 3 in the afternoon. So, we like to change things around, so if someone comes, that has been there…like 6 months ago, that it will be different,” said Mayor Hausler, “There are some things that are very heavy in there. The gas pumps from the 7-Eleven, that blew up, those probably weigh between  and 400 pounds each, so it is quite [an] adventure. We really need to know really right where they need to be, so it’s only a one-move operation. It’s like decorating in your home; only doing it with all these huge pieces.” “[Moving props in the museum requires] manpower…just having somebody [change the props], and then have a visual of what kind of scene we could set up…when [someone goes] to watch the movie, they can see [the prop],” said Diaz. “There must be 50 or 60 [props]. Some of the things really aren’t from the movie…some things are…for instance, I had a friend of me give me a model of a funny car…it’s a drag racing car…it kind of looks like a car, but it’s not really a car. It’s mostly engine and tires, well it had the SuperFest/Superman logo all over it, so I brought it down here…put it in [the museum]. It wasn’t really in the movie, but it’s [a] Superman-related item,” said Gardner, “If we see something new that either comes up…for instance, this year we added an airplane wing from one of the crashed airplanes in the movie…we added that, and I think we took something else out…we moved it around a little bit…we try to keep things a little bit fresh…[The props are] switched around at our whim…I would say we pretty much…all of the SuperFest Committee…kind of keep an eye on it, and make suggestions.” “I think it’s whatever [the Committee decides]…and they bring it in,” said Mulliner, “[The props in the museum are changed] every so many months. We have more props in…warehouse…and garages, so, every so many months, then we’re going to bring different things in…new things in. So, it’ll be something new for everyone to see. Mayor Hausler [inspired the props currently in the museum]. Mayor Hausler got them.”
To move props, which present a challenge, “We talk it over first, and then decide then, and get the manpower available to do that. Then, we have the other stuff that’s very easy to move, like the fake walls…that you can pick a whole wall up by one hand…a brick wall, so that makes it a little bit easier to be able to do that,” said Mayor Hausler, “Normally, it’s…I would say, anywhere from 6 to 8 people.”
There were a number of props in the museum during last year’s Smallville SuperFest. Since then, many have been added. “Since then, we’ve added, actually…there’s something to do with an airplane crash. I invite everyone to come see that. There’s probably 25 to 30 different props in there that we’re moved around,” said Mayor Hausler, “We have some signs [from businesses in the movie] in storage, that we plan on moving in, and moving around, to make the museum look a little bit different, and to freshen it up, and make something new there, so we do have quite a few items that we keep in storage, and then have in our museum.” “The train engine is on the wall, and there’s an airplane wing that was laying out…in the road…Then there’s the fake [wall] that’s in there…all the fake brick, and the gas pumps…I [saw] that get [blown] up…that’s really awesome…that was cool.,” said Mulliner. “…The gas pumps…we [have] one gas pump in there…a 7-Eleven gas pump that’s all burnt up, when Faora threw [Superman] through the entrance of the building, and knocked off the gas pumps and blew up the place, so one of those is just all burned up; the other one is not. So, we move them around a little bit, too… hang things from the ceilings…just try to keep it fresh,” said Gardner, “”We do have the key for Kal-El’s super-spaceship…Warner Brothers donated a key…it’s just a little thing as big as your finger…[the ship] came to life…we have that, and that’s a pretty cool thing. My favorite part of the movie is Main and Center Street, where the big Flag Wall here is in town, with the spaceship landing there…that just pretty much blew me away…I’ve been going past that street for…years, and I’ve never seen a spaceship land there before…There is a basement in [the Depot]…some of [the props go] down there, just for storage. We’ll switch things back and forth, as time goes by…once [props are] here…we might rotate them in and out, just to [kind of] keep things fresh, something a little different now and then, and there’s no set schedule for that…[when] somebody donates something…” “On Sunday, at SuperFest, we’ve having a costume contest, and the winner of the costume contest is going to get a chunk of brick wall/styrofoam, from the movie….that was the most prominent [one] in the movie,” said Gardner. “We have contact with Warner Brothers’ representatives, so we have a very good relationship with those folks, and, eventually, I think all of us would like to see…I know number one on my wish list would be the Superman suit,” said Mayor Hausler.
“I’ve heard a lot of positive results. We’ve had people from all over the world come to our museum, and sign in. We have a sign-in book that people can put their names and their addresses in, give comments. All of the comments say ‘Very Cool,’ or…’Great Display’…everything’s been very positive,” said Mayor Hausler, “[There have been] people from Germany, China, Indonesia, Japan, France, England and many different countries.” “Most people that come through here are comic book nuts, and Superman-crazy people, and they love it…they just love it…they sign our book, and we’ve had people from all over…all over…everywhere…people from Europe…they don’t necessary come here for the museum, but, when they’ve been in town, they’ve stopped in the museum…from Los Angeles to Washington, DC…they’re coming here. Most of them are locals, for sure, but, this year, for instance, I’ve got a friend here from North Carolina, and he [kind of] came here for SuperFest, but he also has family here, and so forth…he graduated high school in Plano, and wanted to visit with some of his old buddies….last year, I had a buddy up from Reno, Nevada…we had someone here from Los Angeles…so they’re all over…all over the place…that’s pretty cool, actually,” said Gardner, “We’ve got a cardboard cutout of Henry Cavill, from some advertising…it’s a freestanding thing, and everyone poses with that, too. They’re standing next to Superman…that’s pretty neat. Instead of having a wood cutout, they actually stand next to the guy. It’s Henry Cavill, for sure.”
“We’re so happy that Warner Brothers donated the scale model of downtown [Smallville], and we have that on display, and the city has purchased a great glass case so that this display will last for a very, very long time…it is one of our main features of the museum,” said Martens. “Yes, what [Warner Brothers’ ] Art Department…it’s really a neat setup because it’s a scale model of our downtown that the [Warner Brothers’] Art Department made before they did any of the construction on the movie set…so, anyone that would come to see our museum would see what Warner Brothers’ vision of Smallville was before they started building. So, it’s really a unique scale model, because it shows…people can actually come and look at our downtown, the way it is now, and go in our museum, and see how Warner Brothers’ envisioned [it],” said Mayor Hausler, “That, we plan on having it remain as it is, because it’s such a unique piece as it is, and…that was made by the Warner Brothers’ Art Department before anything was done, as far as set construction or anything else, and it is very unique.” “We try to have the museum open two days a month, every other Saturday, the first and third Saturday of the month, and it’s also open whenever the Depot is open. Last year was the 100th anniversary of the Depot that we’re in…we were giving away brochures for the festival…that’s another way we did advertising for [the festival],” said Gardner, “[We’ve got] a chunk of a train…[I] think the train was thrown through the Sears building…we had a piece of that…they cut all this stuff up, to haul it away, when they dismantled the movie, so we asked, and they gave us a piece of a train. We’ve got pieces of wall…everybody tries to pick them up, because they look like brick, but they’re really styrofoam…it’s amazing how real they look. They look just like brick wall…only it’s not. Those guys are amazing…We’re planning on leaving [the Model]. We’ve got a nice new table for it [to] sit on.. It’s a pretty cool thing…it’s pretty neat…[Warner Brothers] did that all before the movie; they had everything all figured out…where they wanted what buildings to be…what businesses to be in those buildings…that was pretty cool. I think it’ll remain a permanent…one of the items in the museum.”
Diaz explained the origin of the Mobile Hunt. “I believe it was Greg [Zonsius]…he is our Web man…I believe it was him who did all that, because he had a lot of the photos and stuff…he likes to do all that. I believe it was him who set that all up…I just think people are fascinated to see what Warner Brothers had done, and they wanted to see it in person, and be able to visualize what really happened downtown…” “I think Greg Zonsius…our website designer, and Jim Martens, the Director of Smallville SuperFest… I think they put their heads together and came up with that idea…There are a lot of different aspects of Plano that were used in the movie, and we thought…certain [key] buildings that really stand out in the movie…if there were indoor locations, so we put these signs up in various locations Downtown, and then some of the peripheral places in the area, like one of the churches that they filmed inside of, [a] grade school they filmed…just to try to give people…just kind of a little way to go around and see the different locations that were in the movie…when you scan it with your smartphone, you get a little information about [the building or location]…or what it had to do with the movie,” said Gardner, “Greg’s the guy…taking pictures all over. The first year of SuperFest…he had the free Photo Booth. They put the photos online…everybody could go get their pictures online, and print them out themselves…He’s a busy guy…but his presence is felt when [the Committee sees] what he’s done on the website…he’s one of the paparazzi that kind of started out the whole thing, too. The Smallville SuperFest logo was Greg’s.” “I’ve suggested about the QR code, and then it was pretty much a consensus of the Committee that [that would] be a neat idea to have that. So, people with better ideas on technology than me came up with the QR codes and did that. That was one idea that I had, as far as having people go around to the different buildings that were used during the movie, and to do that,” said Mayor Hausler. “We have it set up so that it‘s …basically …people that just come to town, find out about it, and then they take it upon themselves to go and do it. So, it’s up to everybody that comes and wants to find out about it to really find out what it is that we do,” said Martens, “Everybody loves the obvious things that you can see…that are still remnants from the production companies’ great work on the transformation of downtown Plano, things that actually say, ‘Smallville’. There’s almost a dozen of them that are still around town. The things that are missing because they were part of the destruction and the props, and buildings that were built, and are now taken down, aren’t there. So, we display how you can find those on the Hunt at the museum.” “[People who have taken the Mobile Hunt] really like it…they think it’s fascinating that they can actually see the buildings…what [people] like to do is…they go to the church, and they love looking at the window that [Clark] had sat in front of in the movie…so that’s really cool for them,”said Diaz, “[The most popular sites are] The church and the house.” “I know [the Mobile Hunt has been] popular. We do plan on [the Mobile Hunt being here next year],” said Mayor Hausler.
There were several music guests at this year’s Smallville SuperFest, “Most of them are local bands. We’ve got…Qbar is a big sponsor…they’re sponsoring the Beer [Garden] this year, and they’ve sponsored Coverlicious…Jim Martens is the drummer in one of the bands…Fivestar Fools…they do the heavy metal stuff…he was drumming like crazy last night. A good friend of mine’s sons are in a band that is playing here…about 5 o’clock…they start…Dead River…they’re a good local band…they’ve been going for a long time…Two of [my best friend’s] kids are in a band, so I’m looking forward to seeing them…that’ll be nice. Last night, there was a group…some good friends of mine had close contacts with them…they were really good…so we have kind of a variety of different bands…[Jim’s] lined them up this year…we have some of the same bands this year, and some different ones. Rebel…they were really good. I look forward to hearing all the bands…I like music,” said Gardner, “Dead River, my buddy’s kid’s band, has been here 3 years in a row. We did have Jody Upp…he was here the first 2 years by himself…this year he got a guy to collaborate with him…they call themselves [Cradaddy’s]…he was here 3 years in a row, now, too. He lives in Plano; he’s a good musician…we really appreciated all the bands.”
Charlee Soffer (Chartrand) returned to Smallville SuperFest for its third year, “Volunteering as Superman.” Colleen Egan returned for a third year as well, as a “SuperFest volunteer,” portraying Lana Lang. “My interest in Superman is the same. I just enjoyed the character as a kid, and I grew up to become a big fan of him, later on in life,” said Soffer, “He’s a good example to children and to families…better a superhero that’s standing for something good than…any type of other role models or any type of actors, or celebrities, or athletes out there.” “I grew up watching the movies in the 80s, and then it wasn’t until the ‘Smallville’ series came out that I became a reintroduced fan,” said Egan, whose first memory of Superman was “The first movie that came out.” Wes Krall, who portrayed “Tony Stark, A.K.A. Ironman,” explained his role in the festival, “I went with Tony Stark, Iron Man, here for SuperFest, because I like that he has no powers…he’s just in a suit of armor, just trying to do what he can to help.” His first memories of Superman were “Christopher Reeve and George Reeves, and the movies…I would say the first Christopher Reeve film…he comes out of that phone booth, and literally just takes off flying…that was the biggest thing…flying with no plane…him in the air.” “He is the symbol for truth, justice, and the American Way…that’s his calling card…that’s him,” said Krall. Soffer “heard about Smallville SuperFest from the first year when I talked to Jim from…Metropolis.” “I heard it from [Soffer], when we met in Metropolis,” said Egan. “I heard it through Dennis and Adrienne…then they told me that my friend Charlee was the one that told them about it,” said Krall.
“I decided that we needed to keep up with the times, so I put together a Henry Cavill costume the way I saw fit, and [Egan] has an Amy Adams jumpsuit to match,” said Soffer. “I went ahead this year, and decided to…because, for the past 2 years, I’ve done a modern version of the Lana Lang cheerleading outfit, inspired by the ‘Smallville’ series…this year, I went ahead and pulled out my old ‘Superman: The Movie’ and pulled out what Lana Lang, which was the one that was portrayed by Annette O’Toole as the redhead, and I’m like, ‘Well, let me go ahead and portray something that I can much more…relate with…and I went ahead and just redesigned…it was really a basic, just a white skirt, a Burgundy sweatshirt with an ‘S’…and saddle shoes,” said Egan, “I have the Lois Lane for [Sunday], for the new movie…[Amy Adams].” “It brings a lot of smiles to kids’…and…adult faces…they want to get a photo…with some of their favorite superheroes, and that’s why we’re out here, is to make everybody happy, and to put on a good show,” said Krall.
Soffer explains the modifications of his costume, “Well, I don’t have the golden suit…I retired it. I retired it earlier this year, after debuting in a magazine with it for the first time. I thought that was [an] appropriate end, but I wanted to have…Cavill’s suit, because this is where ‘Man of Steel’ was filmed for ‘Smallville’ and I felt [it] appropriate that I had to have the ‘Man of Steel’ suit, so I put together a costume as I saw fit. I’m very happy with it, and I do have the trunks, and I think it looks better.” “The Lana is completely different from the one last year. The modern one was…more similar to a lot of the cheerleading outfits that you see the kids wearing in the high schools and stuff like that…this one’s just… classic sweatshirt and plain skirt. Then, with the Lois, because in the past, obviously, people say, ‘Well, how do you really dress up as Lois unless you’re wearing a business suit?’…her bigger scenes with him…she’s wearing an Air Force Flight Suit….that’s just a plain green jumpsuit with combat boots…I also have a Lois Lane badge…made for me….with the picture of Amy Adams on it,” said Egan.
“In the future, there’s always an upgrade to a costume…there’s always a way to make a costume look better. He could wear another costume in Justice League, for example. His costume is supposed to be a little different in Batman v. Superman. If [there are] any changes, I’ll see if I can keep up with them,” said Soffer. “Right now, this entire suit is made of…foam. It’s like a hardened resin, so…not full mobility…but good mobility…shake people’s hands, give hugs to kids, but I plan to…actually take the fingertips…because they are several pieces, and hinge them all into one piece…so they’ll bend, I plan to put some more breathing holes into this suit…and, aside from that…no…because it’s actually a pretty big success, though, because all the L.E.D. lights have lit up…my chest, my hands, my eyes,” said Krall.
Soffee explained how people reacted to his costume, “So far the new costume has been a very big hit. I was a little nervous in making the Cavill suit…it turned out very well…everyone likes it…like I said, it’s a different take; everyone seems to appreciate it.” “Our friends, here in Plano, who run the Festival, they liked it, because they even liked when I was discussing to them the idea of doing the classic Lana Lang outfit. So, like, the folks that are the kind of like, the die-hard Superman fans…they liked it. As far as the other people, the visitors that are coming here with their kids and their families, they don’t really recognize it as a costume, they probably see…’Oh, that’s a cheerleader’…so I don’t think that they even recognize what it is…unless somebody has watched the ‘Superman’ movie over and again, like die-hard fans…no one’s really going to know…because this one has just the ‘S’ on the front…the one last year…more people recognized it as the ‘Smallville’ cheerleadiing outfit, because it says ‘Smallville’ across it,” said Egan. “The kids..they’re like, ‘Ooh, that’s Iron Man.’ For the adults…’Hey, like that’s really awesome. Did you make the suit yourself?’ ‘No, this suit was not made by me; I helped with it, but it was actually the creator of James Fipps…he’s one of the…SuperFriends out of St. Charles, Missouri, and multitalented,’” said Krall.
“Ever since I first saw ‘Man of Steel,’ I knew that I was going to eventually try to put that costume together, and do it my own way. I didn’t know how soon or when I would be able to do it, but I do know that, eventually, I wanted to make that suit work. It was just a goal that I set for myself,” said Soffer. “It’s usually Lana and Lois, because of Superman, and those are his two girlfriends. It’s usually when I’m pairing up as a costume with him. I have individual costumes of my own that I enjoy doing, like superhero costumes, and other superhero costumes that I want to create…that have nothing to do with…couple’s costumes…like, if I came here in some of the other ideas that I have, it wouldn’t be any of the…Lois and Clark, or Lana and Clark, or Lana and Superman style stuff,” said Egan. “I grew up actually watching ‘Iron Man,’ like cartoons…stuff like that…and my biggest thing was to actually like…he [dons] the suit, and, like, just takes off flying, and that’s every guy’s dream, I think, is to literally fly with…the wings. [Iron Man is] my iconic hero. I love Iron Man, and he’s a Marvel-based character, but out of…[my favorite] DC characters would be…Green Arrow and Batman,” said Krall, “He’s everything I want to be…philanthropist…billionaire.”
“I’d say the most challenging part is when you’re standing [outdoors], and you’re looking into the sun, and it’s right in your face, and you’re trying to smile, and it’s not working…” said Soffer, “I’m trying to learn as much as I can…It’s basically as much improv as you can learn, and thinking on the spot, speaking on the spot, and being able to know as much, and have as much experience as I’ve been able to have. I would say that I’m a little bit luckier than I have been, because I know how to deal with it more.” “The challenging part…a lot of times, it’s dealing with the elements, because a lot of the stuff that I’ve been doing with him for the last couple of years, it’s usually doing the summer, outside,” said Egan. “Portraying my character as Tony Stark, A.K.A. Iron Man, the easiest thing would be…posing for the pictures and all that…[simply standing] there, throw my hands up, show…the lights on my hands… The hardest thing is to actually get into it…it actually takes about 15 to almost 20 minutes to get into each section of the suit…one piece at a time…The heat…I’m wearing a suit that’s…just a giant oven…” said Krall.
“If I had to put it in a top three…my number one is going to have to go to the legend himself…Christopher Reeve…the man that made us believe a man can fly…and my second would be…Dean Cain…from the show ‘Lois and Clark: The [New] Adventures of Superman’…for a four-year running show, made everybody actually pick up more on the Superman [deal] because it’s a TV show…my third one would be [the] ‘Man of Steel’; Henry Cavill did an excellent job here in Plano, Illinois…my hat’s off to him,” said Krall, “My number one favorite character…is Green Arrow, A.K.A. Oliver Queen…he’s just another human, that’s trying to do good,” said Krall. “I really enjoyed watching Stacey Haiduk…she was an inspiration for [Lana Lang]…and I think that’s why I did like the first season [of Superboy],” said Egan. “My favorite portrayals are…I liked [Christopher]…I liked Gerard…Henry’s very good…I have to see more work of his first…for now, I’m a big fan of the old school guys…I want to see more of Henry…a couple more movies, before I can make a judgment on him…but, so far, I do enjoy his work,” said Soffer.
“[Superman Origins is still my favorite comic] because it did give me a really good story…I’m really starting to actually like reading…’Smallville Season 11,’ just because it’s kind of taking off from where ‘Smallville’ left off…followed by ‘Smallville: Season 11,’” said Egan. Krall’s favorite comic book is “Green Arrow.”
“I’m not quite sure, yet. I think I’m going to find out how things go with Amy Adams…the Flight suit that I have…I’ll probably continue with that if [Soffer is] wearing the Henry Cavill-style Superman suit, and then find out where that set of movies goes…because, being that they’re using Amy Adams as Lois now, and a redhead, I can actually do that a lot better than I have in the past….in the past, whenever I’ve dressed as Lois, it’s always been like, ‘Well, Lois doesn’t have red hair’…and now I can say, ‘Well, she does now…’” said Egan. “I’d be one of the Batmans, or Green Lantern, or Green Arrow,” said Krall.
“I have a few things that I have to do first, before I can start…processes on [the female Green Arrow costume], but it’s still there, at the top of the list, of…costumes that I want to do…from the first time I came to Metropolis, before I knew Charlee and any of the Metropolis Superfriends, before I met any of them…I was like…’I really want to create a female version of the Green Arrow suit.’ I want it to be a certain way. I’m going to do it the one way it’ll be perfect…I’m not going to do it in various versions…I’m going to wait until I can do…exactly the way I want to. It’ll come….a couple years down the road, maybe,” said Egan. “Aside from time…the next [costume] that’s in store is the New 52 Green Arrow…it’s made out of the same material that I’m wearing now…foam…but it’s…Green Arrow. Then…Iron Patriot from ‘Iron Man 3,’” said Krall.
“I would like to meet Terence [Stamp]…Terence was also on ‘Smallville.’ He played Jor-El, and he also played General Zod. It would just be cool to see his take on it, and how he observed the movies, through his side of view,” said Soffer. Egan had previously mentioned wanting to meet Tom Welling, Annette O’Toole, and Erika Durance someday, “Also…Chloe. I really loved Allison Mack as Chloe. I missed the year that she was there…it was like the year before I started going to Metropolis. I also want to meet Justin Hartley…I would say the top ones would be Annette O’Toole first, because I’ve already gotten to meet Margot Kidder…and Tom Welling, and Erika Durance.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing smiling faces on adults’ and kids’ faces [when they see the costume],” said Krall.
Egan thinks that she will most be remembered at this year’s Smallville SuperFest for “Passing out the little plastic Superman rings to the kids.” “I’d say…I’d be remembered as ‘Iron Man,’” said Krall. “What I think I’d be most remembered for, I guess is because I told everyone I was going to debut the new [Henry] Cavill suit this year. I think that’ll probably be the favorite part; I really enjoyed working on it…last minute…realizing that I’ll get it done…a day early…I’m glad I got it done early…very happy…everyone pushed me to do it…thanks to Iron Man and Lana…they helped me out,” said Soffer.
Mayor Hausler explained why certain attractions return every year, “The Zipline…that’s something that…we’ve always marketed as a ‘You Can Fly Down Our Main Street Like Superman Did In the Movie’…there’s that connection. We’re trying to have that connection of being somewhat superhero-related, and still have the fun of the ride.” “The Zipline is a huge part of ‘SuperFest’, because you’re able to fly down Main Street, just like Henry Cavill did. In fact, this year, the Zipline was set up, so you basically went through the exact spot [where] the Army Ranger fell off of the helicopter…and Superman swooped in and saved him. So, you can pretend you‘re Superman and catch the guy falling out of the helicopter,” said Martens.
“What I think is that we’ll just have more volunteers…hopefully…and then get fresh ideas, and work from there. We have a system that is working very well…the volunteers put a lot of time in, so we always have a little bit of a turnover, and then we get people with fresh ideas, and…our Committee is very receptive to fresh ideas, if there’s a way to work it in, where it doesn’t require a lot of man-hours to, and manpower to, do the [event], or have volunteer groups do the event, so I think that that’s…that’ll bring about the new change,” said Mayor Hausler. “’Smallville SuperFest‘ does plan to do ‘SuperFest’ [on] August 14, 15, and 16, 2015. We plan on taking everything we’ve learned for these 3 years and making a few vendor adjustments,” said Martens. “Just getting stronger, and getting the community participating with activities,” said Diaz.
Soffer explained what he would like to see in the Batman v. Superman movie, “What I would like to see is a good story, a good storyline, and a villain that we haven’t seen before.””Being an amateur fan of the film, and a director myself, I’d really like to see a really good storyline…a storyline from Point ‘A’ to Point ‘B’. Let Batman and Superman, in this movie, have a story that’s going to make sense for the cause,” said Krall. “Some of our community, again,” said Diaz.”A lot of action going on,” said Gardner.
“I [have] a feeling we’ll probably keep it the same…we kept it the same as last year for this year…this year, we’ve sort of moved things around a little bit. For instance, we had the Zipline in the same location as all [of] our vendors, and, this time, we’ve moved the Zipline to the other end of town, away from the vendors. It’s sort of spread out a little bit more now, which is nice, so I think that has helped this year,” said Gardner. “I would like to see that…I would like to see that, in addition to our Festival…they are filming the new Superman/Batman movie. I was hoping, during our Festival, they could be over filming at the farmhouse, east of Yorkville, and maybe that someone would come over, but, from what I understand, they’re still in Detroit, filming,” said Mayor Hausler, “I would like to see Henry Cavill, or Amy Adams, or any of the stars of the “Man of Steel” movie. I would like them to come back to Smallville.” “There’s always plans to do special guests and celebrities. Smallville SuperFest is a free festival that raises and pays for everything with sponsorship money alone. We encourage anyone that would like to see those opportunities…go to our website, smallvillesuperfest.com and tell us what they would like to see,” said Martens. “I’d like to see Henry Cavill come back to Plano to visit with us. I’d like to see Dylan [Sprayberry] just at our festival, itself,” said Diaz. “I’d like to see some more celebrity guests; they do have live music here, which is great, it’s a very good feature; I think it’s a good trait to set them apart from a lot of things. They booked for bands very [quickly] this year, a lot [more quickly] than they usually [do], and I look forward to seeing more and more entertainment being poured in…each year they come up with something new,” said Soffer. “If the SuperFest would bring in a celebrity guest, which would be very awesome, it would probably bring in actually a lot more people. I would say [there are] two people [I’d like to see]…one would be the father who played [in] the ‘Man of Steel’ movie, Kevin Costner, and the second one would be the father from [the] ‘Smallville’ television show with Tom Welling…that would be Jonathan Schneider,” said Krall. “We would like to see anybody from the movies here. I’d like to see Kevin Costner…I like him as an actor…he’s just been in everything. Henry Cavill is a great actor, Amy Adams, Zach Snyder,” said Gardner. “I’m just excited to be surprised…they found something new to do every year, that would be at the back of my mind, and I just love what they come up with,” said Soffer.
“It’s been a great fest,” said Diaz, “Really good…I met a lot of nice people.” “It was beautiful weather all weekend, and that we’re looking forward to, again, getting this SuperFest wrapped up. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done, but we’ll be refreshed by the end of the week, and we’ll be ready to start planning for the new Fest,” said Mayor Hausler. “We have a Committee that has met since 2011, well before the movie started being made, and we work together to put this fest together, and we’re happy to say that this is our third successful year. We’re certainly looking forward to a long future of these. The community really likes a lot of the things we’re doing, so we get a great turnout locally, we get a pretty good turnout of people coming from out of town, so we’re really happy with what we’re able to do, as far as our attendance draw,” said Martens. “I would actually love to see Annette O’Toole come too, and, if Jonathan Schneider came, it would be great to have the two of them together,” said Egan. “I am very glad that they picked Plano, and I will be very glad that they did, for years and years to come, because there is a special redhead that I met just because of that one decision, and I’m never going to forget that,” said Soffer. “Long live the SuperFest; I’m very glad it’s hosted here, in the ‘Man of Steel’ [filming] area. Long life to the SuperFest…many years to come…” said Krall.