Can Rochester dominate comic cons with Super City festival?

Jul 29, 2019

Credit provided photo

A Rochester business owner is planning a three-day festival on Aug. 23 through 25 to celebrate comics and pop culture.

Comic cons are typically held in one location, like a convention center, but Jason Hilton wants to turn that model on its head.

Hilton, the owner of Pop Roc on East Avenue, is calling the event Super City Rochester, a multi-venue, citywide festival in the style of the Fringe Festival or the jazz festival. Most events will be free.

“I see some issues with inclusion in the comic con world,” said Hilton. “Low-income families are boxed out because it always costs so much.” 

He envisions a more family-friendly series of events for people with varied pop culture interests, spread beyond the confines of a single venue.

In addition to comics and collectibles, there will be live music, a “Super Pub Crawl” in the East Avenue/Alexander Street area with themed pubs, and an “Artist Alley” featuring local artists including Shawn Dunwoody and John Magnus Champlain.  A video game demo and tournament will take place at the Rochester Museum & Science Center, and The Little Theatre will show movies and cartoons.  The Valley Cadillac Building on East Avenue will host pro wrestling, the “Geek Comedy Hour,” and a “Super Roast.”  

An attempt will be made to break a world record for the largest number of people gathered in one place dressed in comic character costumes. The current record is 1,728. A representative from The Guinness Book of World Records won’t be on hand to confirm the outcome, but Hilton said festival organizers are exploring another option.

Hilton is expecting an estimated 4,000 to 8,000 people to attend the festival, but in future years, he thinks it’s not out of the question to challenge cities like New York and San Diego for the biggest comic con crowds. Those locations draw hundreds of thousands of people.

“Our goal is to be bigger than any comic con that we can,” he said, “and the reason we can be bigger, is because we don’t have the capacity limits like the convention center has.”

Mark LiButti, who worked with Hilton to get sponsors for the festival, said the event is not receiving any public funding. The title sponsor is the Rich Ide Family of Dealerships. Pre-sale tickets and schedules can be found at www.supercityrochester.com.

Click on the LISTEN link above to hear an interview with Jason Hilton.