Featuring some of the top Southwestern and Mexican cuisine in America and a flourishing cultural scene, Phoenix is an oasis in the everpresent Arizona sunshine (more than 300 days with sun per year). The city is home to hundreds of quality restaurants which cover almost any cuisine you can imagine. Food enthusiasts will fall in love with the city’s selection of hot new restaurants including Glai Baan, Gallo Blanco, and Restaurant Progress. From numerous theaters and concert halls to an extensive collection of museums, Phoenix is the cultural epicenter of Arizona. Those looking to dip their toes into the creative community should check out the Musical Instrument Museum, Taliesin West, and Phoenix Art Museum.
The Phoenix Comic Fest has been celebrating geek and comic book culture since it began 16 years ago, and it will take place May 24-27 at the Phoenix Convention Center. This all-ages event is a nerd nirvana complete with panels, vendors, cosplay, and celebrities. The signature events of this year's edition include Masquerade Costume Contest, Wakanda Welcoming Celebration, P.U.G.S., a geek trivia competition, and more. Patrons can also attend a variety of panels that cover subjects such as the works of film legend Tim Curry, animation, horror movies, comics, and sci-fi. Those looking to learn about writing and networking with other writers can attend workshops hosted by industry professionals that address subjects such as character development, female representation in literature, and how to incorporate action into your stories. The fest also features more than 300,000 square-feet of exhibitor space where patrons can purchase a variety of comics, art, and collectibles from hundreds of vendors. For a complete breakdown of all the panels, activities, games, and talks, visit the event’s schedule page. A portion of the event’s proceeds will go to Kids Need to Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes childhood literacy and addresses America’s library funding crisis. ResortsandLodges.com interviewed Event Representative, Nichole Nance, to learn more about this unique celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
NN: Phoenix Comic Fest (formerly Phoenix Comicon) has been around since 2002.
RAL: How many annual attendees do you draw?
NN: The event draws upwards of 100,000 attendees every year.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
NN: Fans and geeks of all ages are welcome to Phoenix Comic Fest.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
NN: We are designed to help you Discover Your Inner Geek™. We have four days jam-packed with panels and events for just about every fandom whether it's sci-fi, gaming, cosplay, meeting celebrities, fantasy, books, Disney, and more.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
NN: We have over 1,000 hours full of panels and events starting on Thursday. You'll find escape rooms, nighttime parties, a lightsaber walk throughout the downtown area, cosplay fashion shows, the annual Masquerade Costume Contest, family and youth-oriented panels/activities, your children's favorite superheroes, princesses, and more brought to life by talented cosplayers, and more.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
NN: We have over 20 celebrities including Famke Janssen, Tim Curry, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, William Shatner, Val Kilmer, and four Disney Princess voice actors. We have over 50 authors such as Christopher Paolini, Cory Doctorow, VE Schwab, Romina Russell, and more. You’ll also find well over 70 comic artists and creators such as Greg Capullo, Scott Snyder, Jonathan Glapion, Glenn Rane, and Tim Sale.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?
NN: There will be food trucks and dining options available in our outdoor events area as well as dozens of restaurants and local coffee shops all around downtown Phoenix.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up for the event?
NN: We have some special rates still available for all of the hotels surrounding the Phoenix Convention Center. You can find these on this page. There may also be some AirBnB’s around the downtown Phoenix area.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
NN: Our community is full of passionate, warm, supportive, welcoming fans that grow every year. At Phoenix Comic Fest, we are brought together under one giant roof to celebrate our fandoms and Discover Our Inner Geek™ together.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
NN: Every year, downtown Phoenix businesses are booming with business every Memorial Day weekend. It is a massive benefit to our local economy as well as small business owners both as an exhibitor at the event as well as the surrounding downtown Phoenix area.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
NN: Phoenix Comic Fest proudly supports Kids Need to Read. Every year we donate over $50,000 to Kids Need to Read through various paid parties and events held at the show.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
NN: Phoenix Comic Fest is a convention that celebrates fandom and pop culture. We are one of the top five comic conventions in the United States with over 1,000 hours worth of programming and over 600 exhibitors in our Exhibit Hall, where you can find just about any collectible or memorabilia you might be looking for. You’ll also have a chance to meet your favorite celebrity, author, comic legend, or cosplayer. Throughout our 17 years of operation, we have witnessed attendees cultivate new friendships and make a lifetime of memories. Did you know some of our celebrity guests roam the exhibit hall on their breaks? How about running into an epic, geeky proposal between two cosplayers? You might even get the chance to sit in an actual DeLorean or meet a REAL mermaid! You’ll never know who or what you’ll see when you’re roaming Phoenix Comic Fest. Most of all, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing people from every background come together as one big, happy family.
For more information about the Phoenix Comic Fest, please visit the event website.