Phoenix Fan Fest is a smaller scale spin-off of Phoenix Comicon oriented towards a wider audience (including families with young children). Besides, Phoenix Fan Fest focuses more on fan interaction with media guests. The convention offers a range of events featuring well-known actors, wrestlers, comic book artists and writers, and cosplayers. Of course, Phoenix Fan Fest programming includes usual fan convention attractions such as workshops, panels, and exhibitors.
The inaugural Phoenix Comicon took place in 2002, titled Phoenix Cactus Comicon. Its popularity has expanded over the years. In 2016, the convention was attended by over 100,000 pop culture fans. At some point, attendees began to ask the organizers to host another event, preferably during the cooler time of the year (Phoenix Comicon is typically held in May, when it is already quite hot in South Arizona). That’s how Phoenix Fan Fest was born. Its first edition was held in December 2014 as Phoenix Comicon Fan Fest. It drew over 11,000 attendees.
Originally, the convention was held at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona because renting the Phoenix Convention Center for a relatively small event was too expensive. However, a stadium isn’t the most convenient venue for a pop culture convention. For example, it didn’t offer enough spaces to handle a large amount of panels. A modest amount of programming had to take place in meeting rooms used for press conferences.
Although the stadium was a unique venue, the organizers moved the event to the Phoenix Convention Center in 2016. This facility is more suitable for hosting a fan convention. The move allowed to expand the programming. However, Phoenix Fan Fest remains a relatively small, family-friendly event.
The programming of Phoenix Fan Fest includes panels featuring well-known actors, comic book authors and other special guests, the exhibition hall where attendees can buy various merchandise, photo ops and autograph session with celebrity guests, a costume competition and a bunch of other attractions.