2016 Comic Con Convention opens in Tampa

Annual event pumps millions of dollars in the local economy

TAMPA, Fla.  (WFLA) — It’s dubbed as a ‘cornucopia of nerdy fun.’  The annual Tampa Bay Comic Con kicked off at the Tampa Convention Center at noon Friday.  Last year, the event drew an estimated 50,000 people to downtown Tampa and this year organizers estimate attendance to be closer to 60,000.

Many attending dress up in their favorite comic book or fantasy characters.  Bill Hatton from Brandon dressed up as Gandalf the White from J. R. R. Tolkien’s novels, ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ He and his wife spent five years working on his costume.

He enjoys interacting with people at the convention.  When asked his favorite activity?  “It’s taking photographs with everybody,” said Hatton.  “That’s what I enjoy the most.”

2016 Tampa Bay Comic Con Parking Info

Andrew Howe is attending Comic Con for the first time.  He’s in town from Virginia.  “I love it.  It’s a wonderful point for everyone to just come in and be friendly and express themselves,” said Howe.  “That’s the biggest thing about these events.”

Dozens of vendors are also at the convention center peddling their wares; everything from comic books to costumes to action figures.

Brenden Boyle is with Coliseum Comics and says this convention used to have a cult following that’s now much more mainstream.  “Everybody is into comics.  Everybody is into superheroes,” said Boyle from his booth.  “Once they start putting actual comic books on the big screen that actually translated to the customer base …. So that is very good.”

PHOTOS- Comic Con 2014: Best Dressed

Comic Con runs from Friday to Sunday.  Tickets are $30 per day on Friday and Sunday.  Admission is $40 on Saturday.  You can also opt for a 3 day admission for $60.

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