Salt Lake Comic Con organizers present entertainment for fans and their families with the bi-annual KidCon area, which is available at the two-day FanXperience event.
Parents who enjoy the Comic Con atmosphere can share that excitement with their children with safe, family-friendly activities. Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr said KidCon has grown to become a major attraction for guests going to the downtown convention, which is held in the spring and also in the autumn.
“We still push to be family-friendly. We have KidCon at both events, and KidCon has really been a great draw,” Farr said. “At first it was a fun brainchild of some of the people on staff. They said, ‘Hey, let’s try this.’ And it’s really grown to become a centerpiece of the event.”
Families can spend time with professional cosplayers dressed as a variety of Disney princess characters at the Wish Upon a Party station. Young fans can sit and sip pretend beverages and interact with these actors, who remain in character the whole time.
Princesses Ariel, Tiana, Cinderella, Moana, Snow White and Belle are among the characters that will be interacting with families and their children at the station.
“I love Belle. She has always been my hero growing up,” said Lydia Carpenter, who professionally cosplays the Disney princess at KidCon. “She is smart and courageous and funny, and I love her a lot. Especially with the new movie coming out — everyone is really excited about her, and I am, too.”
A new feature to the KidCon experience plays with an element from the “Harry Potter” film series. Instead of playing quidditch, groups of five children play “Kidditch,” complete with seekers, a golden snitch and a quaffle ball, just as Harry Potter and his friends use in the films.
Fans can attempt to pull a decorated sword from a stone, find their way through a maze to a wizard training ground, and make their own magic wands at an arts and crafts table.
One particular Salt Lake City family enjoys attending different Comic Con events held across the country. But when a local comic convention is held in Utah’s capital, they are sure to bring their children with them.
The Nelson family most recently attended the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle held March 2-5, and have also attended similar comic conventions in New York and San Diego in the past.
“The kids only come to the local ones, and this KidCon one is perfect for them,” said Robby Nelson, who is attending KidCon with his wife, Loren, along with their 5- and 3-year-old children. “It gives them a little something to kind of get into the same stuff that we like to do ourselves.”
The Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder said Utah is ahead of the curve when it comes to cosplay and supporting social events like Salt Lake Comic Con, which draws more than 120,000 attendees during its autumn event and more than 50,000 people during its spring FanXperience event.
“That’s because there’s so much do-it-yourself [culture] in this community,” Farr said. “People know how to sew, they know how to paint, they know how to sculpt, and all of that. They’re so creative. And so having that baseline — and you add something fun around fandoms — it was like a powder keg ready to be ignited in a positive way.”
Casey Adams is a features writer and reporter for Deseret News. Contact him at email@example.com or (801) 236-6068 or on Twitter @casey907.