Last fall’s very first Salt Lake City Con drew what is claimed to be 80,000 people, although when I first reported on it it was 50,000 tickets sold,—and the fire marshals came outin force. With that kind of smash, they are holding another one already, nicknamed FanX. And this time they are expecting an even huger crowd. :

Organizer Dan Farr is confident that Utah can support two comic book conventions a year. He predicts this week’s convention will draw 100,000 visitors, at least 20,000 more than last fall’s event, easily breaking the record for the biggest convention in Utah.

“I’m not worried about what happens this year. But as we move into next year, that is a question we need to ask and talk to a lot of fans about,” Farr said about whether his grand experiment of two comic cons in Salt Lake City per year will work. “One thing that fights against that is we do bring in a new cast of guests, and we do change it up. If you go to one event, the next one will be new again. We’ll keep it fresh.”

I share Farr’s lack of fear where two shows are concerned — it sounds like a big market. This edition includes tons and tons of nerdlebrities including various people you would know from the bridge of the Enterprise, being eaten by zombies or patrolling Mega City. Also, comic book people.

When I see attendance numbers going up, up, up I always get a little suspicious, so if there are any Beatniks on the ground, please send in reports. They have already sold 40,000 tickets however, so expect a BIG time.

The show runs three days, but opens today. No Sunday for this con because…well it is Utah.

In case you are wondering, there is a harassment policy on the website.

[Above photo via Josh Wartena.]


  1. I think most large cities can support more than one major convention.

    Most major conventions (and all smaller ones) are regional. A metropolitan convention is a draw for people living in the boondocks, partly because of the fandom, partly because it’s the shining city at the end of the yellow brick road. (It’s half “New York” (Broadway! Empire State!) and “Comic Con” (Superheroes! Celebrity signings! Stuff to buy!).)

    SLC is in the middle of nowhere. 6 hour drive to Las Vegas. 8 hours to Denver. 5 hours to Boise.

    SLC can run two shows IF they lock down Passover/Holy Week. That’s the only way to run a Thursday-Saturday show in Salt Lake. It’s also a great way to entice high school students (who have disposable income), as most public schools schedule Spring Break to coincide with Holy Week.

    “Ninety percent of the attendees at last year’s comic con were from Utah, and half were from the Salt Lake Valley, said Scott Beck, president and CEO of Visit Salt Lake, the city’s visitors and convention bureau.” (Salt Lake Valley, the urban area, has about one million residents. Utah has about 3 Million.)

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