Make us your home page
Instagram

Nerds, celebs help Tampa Bay Comic Con set attendance record

Thanks to the surging rage of nerd culture, not to mention celebs from Lord of the Rings, The Walking Dead and American Horror Story, both the Tampa Bay Comic Con and its host site, the Tampa Convention Center, shattered attendance records during last weekend's three-day salute to popular culture.

Comic Con drew some 44,000 revelers Aug. 1-3 — from those in tight superhero regalia to mere lookie-loos curious about the growing fuss. That tops 2013's haul of 28,000.

But wait, boys and Batman freaks, there's more: On Saturday alone, 29,814 revelers pushed through the doors, a new single-day attendance record for the downtown building. Rick J. Hamilton, director of the convention center, said the previous single-day high was probably during the Republican National Convention in August 2012, when about 15,000 people were in the building at one time.

"Comic Con went well, very minor problems," Hamilton said of the Spidey-enthused, and yet altogether peaceful, throngs. "It was just a matter of directing all of those folks."

Action 3 Events & Promotions, which stages Comic Con, reported that downtown Tampa's hotels felt the chummy boost as well, as Comic Con-ers rented 700 local room nights during the weekend, up from 350 in 2013.

With scores of merchandising booths plus a schedule rife with panels and events (Nerdy Speed Dating!), this year's Comic Con featured such bold-faced names as Evan Peters from American Horror Story, John Rhys-Davies (Sallah!) from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Brighton Sharbino and Kyla Kennedy, who play the totally creepy wee sisters from The Walking Dead.

For as wildly successful as Tampa Bay Comic Con has been, however, its numbers don't come close to the geektastic gathering of 'em all: This year's Comic-Con International in San Diego, which has become a crucial product-launching spot for Hollywood, drew close to 200,000 people.

Action 3's next big Tampa bash is the Cartoon Convention at the convention center Nov. 8-9. Disney princess fanatics prepare accordingly: Voice actors for Belle and Jasmine, Paige O'Hara and Linda Larkin will be meeting and greeting.

Sean Daly can be reached at sdaly@tampabay.com. Follow @seandalypoplife.

Nerds, celebs help Tampa Bay Comic Con set attendance record 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 9:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Glen Campbell's wife Kim discusses challenges, guilt caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, others face

    Life Times

    If there's one thing Kim Campbell would change about caregiving for Alzheimer's patients, it's the attitude so many of us have toward transferring a loved one from home to a long-term care facility. According to Campbell, it's often the most kind, loving decision you can make. It's not a sign of failure, but one of …

    Kim Campbell, wife of country music legend Glen Campbell, is acknowledged by those attending the free event where she shared the story of her personal journey with Alzheimer???‚??„?s disease and the struggles she faced caring for her husband on Friday (5/26/17) at the Suncoast Hospice's Empath Health Service Center in Clearwater. Empath Choices for Care, a member of Empath Health, and Arden Courts Memory Care hosted the free event where Kim shared her story to help others understand the early stages, how the disease changes lives, the challenges families face and the role of caregiver.
  2. What happened when I took my dad to a Pitbull concert

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA — "So, you know how you like Pitbull?" I asked my dad. "We can see him."

    Selfie of Divya Kumar and Anand Kumar at Pitbull/Enrique Iglesias concert.
  3. Tampa City Council votes to accept travel invitation from Cuban ambassador

    Blogs

    The invitation came to Tampa City Council chairwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin in a June 9 letter from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.

    The Tampa City Council voted 6-0, with Frank Reddick out of the room, to respond to a travel invitation from Cuban ambassador to the United States José Ramón Cabañas Rodriguez.
  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 25

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Festival: The daytime festival covers Central Avenue's Grand Central District with more than 350 vendors, multiple stages, live music, art and food. 9 a.m., Grand Central District, 2429 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. Free. (727) 342-0084.

    Kristen Whalen poses for a photo before the start of the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg last year. It's that time of year again, so check with us for your planning purposes. [LUIS SANTANA  |   Times (2016)]
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 24

    Events

    St. Pete Pride Block Party and Night Parade: St. Pete Pride's popular parade moves to downtown St. Petersburg's scenic waterfront. The block party brings DJs, food and drinks starting at 2 p.m. The parade steps off at Fifth Ave NE and Bayshore at 7 p.m. with fireworks at 9:45 p.m. 2 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth …

    Thousands line the streets of Central Ave. during the St. Pete Pride Parade in St. Petersburg.  [Saturday, June 25, 2016] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]