Comic Con becomes Utah’s largest convention

Posted at 10:19 PM, Sep 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-10 12:50:24-04

Comic Con is now Utah’s single most-attended convention.

“They pulled off a phenomenal event,” said Nick Como, communications director with the Downtown Alliance.

The first go-around for the three-day event far exceeded expectation.

"Many of [the vendors] said they had their best show here in Salt Lake," said Dan Farr, President, Dan Farr Productions

“The Hobbit” actor Manu Bennett expressed similar sentiment.

“I broke my record here at Salt Lake Comic Con.  I`ve never earned the money I earned here in a day or the whole weekend than what I did here because of the numbers,” said Bennett

It's unclear exactly how many people attended the three-day event, but on Saturday alone, there are estimates of more than 70,000.  With about 50,000 presale tickets, Comic Con doubled attendance of the long-time Outdoor Retailers convention.

There were so many costumed characters outside the Salt Palace on Saturday, the fire marshal closed the doors for safety reasons.  Some ticket holders were turned away.

“We've actually surpassed any other Comic Con event for a first year in an inaugural event that we've exceeded by far what other people have done and that has been by in part, in huge part in the way that Salt Lake City has got behind it,” said Dan Farr, President of Dan Farr Production.

Governor Gary Herbert welcomed celebrities like Star Trek's William Shatner and “Incredible Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno.

“For the governor to come in and get involved with it, that doesn`t happen,” Farr added.

“We heard this from some of the actors who showed up that they fell in love with Utah and they're going to come back with their families and visit on a vacation,” Como said.

Comic Con is now big business for the state and it's just the beginning.

The event filled only half of the Salt Palace this year.  When it returns next year, the organizer says, expect both halls filled.

"Potentially in the future, we'll see as many people as in San Diego,” said Farr.  “When I started out, I didn't know that was possible.  Now I believe that's possible."

“It`s staggering because that puts him in the top five in the country on his first go.  Dan Farr, you are superman buddy!,” Bennett said.