June 24, 2020
By: Tiffany Razzano
TAMPA Fla. – The Imaginarium Agency, which produces the Tampa Bay Comic Convention, has canceled this year’s event, which was scheduled to take place July 10-12 at the Tampa Convention Center.
Imaginarium posted a Facebook announcement about the cancellation Wednesday evening.
There has been a significant spike in positive COVID-19 cases throughout the Tampa Bay area in recent weeks, which factored into their decision.
“Nerdy brethren! We come to you with unfortunate news. Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the City of Tampa does not feel comfortable featuring Tampa Bay Comic Convention 2020 (and we share their sentiment). For that reason, Tampa Bay Comic Convention 2020 has been cancelled,” organizers wrote.
Next year’s convention has already been scheduled to take place July 30 through August 1, 2021. Pre-ordered tickets and fees for booth and table spaces will be transferred to the 2021 event. Their post did not mention whether refunds would be available.
Organizers indicated that these pre-orders would help keep the Tampa Bay Comic Convention financially stable over the next year.
“Since 2010, we have been hosting (the) Tampa Bay Comic Convention. From our earliest days gathering a few hundred nerdy locals, to the tens of thousands the convention now attracts, it has been a wonderful adventure. What started as a fun side-project for a few comic book collectors from Central Florida, has grown into a full-fledged business—with actual full-time employees,” they wrote. “Keeping TBCC alive and our employees employed through the massive 24-month gap from TBCC 2019 to TBCC 2021 will be very, very challenging. We are greatly appreciative and thankful for your ticket and booth/table transfers, as those funds are truly all there is keeping TBCC alive for the next 12 months; without them, there would be no TBCC 2021 (or beyond).”
In a May 19 Facebook post, Imaginarium announced that this year’s Tampa Bay Comic Convention “lives on.”
“After nearly two months of agonizing uncertainty, we have received confirmation from the Tampa Convention Center and Tampa Fire Marshal that TBCC 2020 will move forward with numerous health measures enacted by the venue and various levels of government, to keep attendees, exhibitors, guests, and staff as safe as possible,” organizers wrote.
They forged ahead, confirming guests such as Jeremy Ray Taylor (seen in the recent theatrical adaptations of Stephen King’s “It”), Kel Mitchell (Nickelodeon’s “All That” and “Kenan & Kel”), Marina Sirtis (“Star Trek: The Next Generation”), Arrowverse star David Ramsey and actor/wrestler Kevin Nash, despite similar conventions throughout the region and across the country canceling or rescheduling their events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
San Diego Comic-Con, which usually takes place in July, was canceled this year. Meanwhile, local events Necronomicon and Florida Supercon have also been canceled, and a scaled-down MegaCon Orlando has been rescheduled for Oct. 30 through Nov. 1.
Tampa Bay Comic Convention organizers laid out a plan to keep attendees healthy and safe, including temperature screenings for everyone entering the convention center, increased cleaning and disinfection procedures in high-traffic areas, limited occupancy in certain areas of the venue, and hand sanitizing stations throughout the venue.
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