Downtown Grand Rapids came alive this past weekend, but it wasn’t for the average concert or Griffin’s Hockey game. Instead, the Grand Rapids Comic Con hosted its 8th annual convention, and crowds of people gathered to experience the fun. Last year due to Covid, the event was postponed. Over quarantine, the number of people interested in the convention skyrocketed. The growth in popularity is apparent by looking back to the first Comic Con in Grand Rapids: On October 3rd, 2013, 7,000 people attended the convention. Just seven years later, in 2019, the attendance rose to 28,000.
This weekend’s convention was held at the DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Visitors ventured around the convention center, indulging in the many activities offered. The main focus is on the many vendor halls where it’s ridiculously easy to spend too much money on items such as comics and art. Aside from the halls, there are areas to relax and converse. Another end of the large room has stalls where people can meet voice actors, writers, and cosplay creators.
A place where people can be hunted down and put in a fake jail, while others play with legos and gaming systems – sounds like a crazy dream – but it becomes a reality at the convention. For fans of Star Wars, there are a few areas themed around the well known series. One table in particular allows people to pay for their friend to be hunted down and placed into a jail cell. Many booths like this are interactive and create a welcoming environment for people to geek out.
In the time between the 2019 convention and now, one particular aspect of the con has been most anticipated. The cosplay and cosplay contest panel. Hours are poured into drafting, sewing, painting, and gluing together costumes. The hard-working artists finally have a chance to show off their efforts by displaying their works at a booth, walking around the con, and interacting with con-goers.
The authors attending are by far the most engaging people in the building. Those who take the time to slow down and check out the writer booths are greeted with much enthusiasm. In the past the typical “here’s my story and what it’s about,” became incredibly repetitive. It was common to briskly pass their booth and avoid the possible twenty minute lecture. However, because of their passion for storytelling and understanding of how to keep a crowd, writers have continued to thoroughly impress. The Grand Rapids Comic Con has an excellent set of authors that are worth seeing each year.
The convention this year was a great success, and it’s all thanks to people spreading the word through the creative advertisements shared on social media and television. Next year’s convention date has already been set for November 11-13, 2022. Come see the many events Grand Rapids Comic Con has to offer next year!