HARTFORD – Riverfest may have been canceled, but Hartford still had a lot of action this weekend.
Thousands of comic book and anime fans poured into the city for ConnectiCon beginning Thursday.
ConnetiCon 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.
Organizers are anticipating 15,000 people by the end of the weekend, a spokesperson for the event said its draws in more crowds each year.
“This is probably my 10th or 11th year going,” ConnectiCon-goer Chrstie Hilversum said. “You can also meet famous voice actors that you`ve been in love with, like Tom Kenny.”
Tom Kenny, known for his long-running role as Spongebob Squarepants, said the event brought “good vibes.”
“It's funny I’ve never done this one before and I actually expected it to be smaller, I’m amazed at the scale of this.” Kenny said. “This is a big one, Connecticut is stepping up.”
People came in from other states, one woman from Florida, dressed up as Doll from Black Butler, said it was worth the trip.
“It’s really cathartic for me because it's just a chance for me to escape and be a different person,” Martha Bowell-Weltin said.
Local businesses are cashing in on the crowds. The Director of Operations for NIXS, Scott Scherman, the restaurant located across from the convention center, said they’re seeing the benefit when the event nears its end.
“It's definitely impacted business, not so much during the day but more at night-time,” he said.
He hopes the Convention Center will bring in more events like ConnectiCon that draws in crowds looking to explore the city.
“We’d like to see more,” he said. “They seem to be real receptive to the Hartford area and I think the convention centers really trying hard to bring more business downtown.”
Sunday is the final day for ConnectiCon at the Connecticut Convention Center and Hartford Marriot Downtown. For more information, click here.