Over 20,000 comic book, anime fans expected to show up in Hartford this weekend

HARTFORD – The capitol city will be filled with action for the 15th annual ConnectiCon.

Organizers expect roughly 25,000 comic book and anime fans to show up to the Convention Center by the end of the weekend. A spokesperson for the event said attendance goes up each year.

ConnectiCon promotes itself as New England’s only massively, multi-genre pop culture convention. It was founded in 2002 by a group of friends at the University of Hartford, and has grown ever since.

"We’ve been here every year for 10 years," Katie Lenti of Hebron said. "The coolest thing about this event is definitely that we have a place that we feel safe to be nerds."

The event draws in fans from across the United States, William Hermoant came for the first time from New Hampshire.

"This is actually the first time visiting Connecticut, too," he said. "I will be back the rest of the weekend and for next year."

With any big event comes a push for safety.

The Convention Center has hired extra detail of Hartford police officers that will work throughout the weekend. Deputy Chief Brian Foley said he asks people to avoid bringing in fake weapons as part of their costumes.

"Some of the problems we run into is the costumes and some of the weapons that people bring with the costumes that look like genuine real weaponry," Foley said.

The Hartford Police Department has the ability to tap into the cameras at the event with the permission of the Convention Center.

"We work with a lot of our corporations and a lot of our businesses in the city, where we can actually access their videos here in the crime center," he said.

Foley said there have been rarely any incidents during ConnectiCon in the past. Local businesses said they see the impact of the event. A spokesperson for the Marriott Hotel said they expect to sell out for the weekend, again this year.

Trina Gallo, General Manager of Spotlight Theatre's Front Street Bistro called it the most profitable weekend of the year.

"It's definitely a community event," Gallo said. "ConnectiCon has adjusted their schedules to help drive business into Hartford and especially onto Front Street."

Gallo said they increase staff for the weekend and even create a special menu for ConnectiCon goers.

An added bonus for the theatre is that "Spiderman," was released the same weekend so they're doing a promotion for those with a ConnectiCon pass, and holding a late night showing.

"We expect more drive tonight and tomorrow," she said.

The hours for the remainder of the weekend at the Convention Center are: Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday is the final day for ConnectiCon. For more information, click here.