One of the biggest gatherings in Utah — the FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention — might cancel its 2020 edition because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a notice posted on the event’s blog and sent to patrons via email and through social media, the event’s organizers said prospects for the 2020 edition, set for Sept. 17-19 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, are “looking bleak.”
“Unless we see a significant reduction in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the next couple of weeks, we do not feel it is in the best interest of the community and the attendees for us to continue with the plan to have the event this year,” the notice read.
If the 2020 convention is canceled, organizers say they will roll over tickets already purchased to the 2021 event or a future convention.
If FanX goes on, organizers say they are planning to install many safety precautions within the convention center.
Uncertainty over the pandemic has kept many celebrities from making plans for September. Only 14 celebrity guests had been booked for the 2020 FanX — most of them cartoon voice actors and reality-show hosts — and organizers had not announced a new booking since April.
Some fans and observers have been urging FanX to cancel for months. For example, Kaitlyn Booth, a Salt Lake City-based movie critic and editor-in-chief of the entertainment website Bleeding Cool, posted on Twitter on June 16 that FanX should “cancel your event before you kill someone. … You cannot social distance at a con.”
FanX is considered one of the largest fan conventions in the country, having drawn more than 100,000 people a year since it began in 2013 as Salt Lake Comic Con — a name it forfeited after losing a copyright lawsuit to Comic-Con International in San Diego. Comic-Con canceled its July event this year because of COVID-19 concerns, but it is offering a streaming version for fans to watch at home.