For the second time this year, fans of nearly anything under the umbrella of pop culture will have the opportunity to gather as the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention returns this weekend.
“Every event having new celebrities is something that changes it up,” said Dan Farr, President and Founder of FanX. “We have a red carpet walk of fame as a kickoff. As the celebrities are getting to the event on Thursday, we’re going to have several of them walk the red carpet, which will be in the waiting area where the attendees are waiting to get into the show.”
Celebrities this time include Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” films, Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the Harry Potter films, two members of the band NSYNC, and numerous others.
One of the biggest names to be in attendance is Tom Holland, best known for his portrayal of Spider-Man in five Marvel films.
“It’s been several years that we’ve tried to figure out how to bring him in, and his schedule’s never lined up with our event, so for us to be able to get him was a really big deal,” Farr said. “When he decides he’s going to do a few events, there’s not a lot of events that can handle a guest of his size, but we know that we can. Being able to get him really comes down to the fact that we really have the best community for these people.”
Other events include numerous panels, a vendor floor with local and national artists, and KidCon for younger audiences and families. The fall event will also include some interactive events, including axe throwing and archery.
“Our archery games are being done by the Easton Foundation,” Farr said. “They have a big archery center out near the airport where they play these games and they’re setting it up at FanX. We really try to round it out with some more fun, playful things.”
Shortly before the event hosted in April this year, a federal court made a ruling that FanX was ordered to pay $4 million to the San Diego Comic-Con, and was not allowed to use the phrase “Comic-Con” in its name.
“We have filed the appeal,” Farr said. “Basically the way the appeal process works in the 9th Circuit Court is that both sides are given a chance to put their arguments down to a document. So we filed our appeal, they filed their reply, and then we filed a response to their reply, and now it’s waiting for the three judges that will be put together in a panel to review that information.”
While the appeal process has not progressed very far, Farr believes that FanX will come out on top.
“We feel really positive about the documents we submitted, we feel that the law is on our side on this, and we hope that the outcome is favorable. We’re anticipating spring or summer of next year that the judges will take the next step in this.”
In the meantime, FanX is already making moves for future events, noting that next year will be a little different than it was this year.
“Next year, we are planning on putting our focus on a September event; we don’t have a spring event scheduled,” Farr said. “Last year, we did the single event, which worked well, and as much as we love having two events a year, it seems like the right fit for the market is the single, large event. There could always be the holdout possibility that maybe there’s a smaller, more focused fan event that we put together, but if we do, it won’t be on the same scale as our typical spring events.”
For those who still want to get their fan fix, Utah offers a wide variety of fan conventions throughout the year.
“I don’t want people to think that there’s competition amongst us, because we really try to help each other,” Farr said, regarding other local conventions. “There’s Anime Banzai, that’s a great, focused event. I think people that are really into anime should never miss that event. Same thing with FearCon; if you’re really into Halloween, that’s a nice event to attend. Ours has a little bit of everything. Think of it as more of a broad approach.”
Ultimately, these conventions provide the fans the opportunity to gather with people who love the same things they do.
“I think that the fans are better here than anywhere,” Farr said. “That’s obviously my biased opinion; I’m sure fans are great everywhere, but we’re going to hold to the belief that ours are the best.”