XCON draws in celebrities, comics and new visitors to the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) -  XCON is taking over Myrtle Beach for the seventh year in a row.

Each year, it has something new for folks to check out, which organizers say is one of the many draws to the event. Expect to see comics, costume contests and celebrities.

"Several 'Walking Dead' guests including Lew Temple, Flash Gordon from the 80s movies, Sam Jones, who just got a new resurgence in popularity from appearing in the movie 'Ted' with Wahlberg, we have two power rangers and I understand they're gonna be in costumes," says co-founder of the event Robin Roberts.

Those are some of the stars you'll be able to take selfies with during the weekend long convention.  It also has family friendly events for all ages.

The numbers prove it's a success. The event has doubled in size in the last four years. Last year, the event drew in more than 5,000 people. This year, organizers expect more, with the goal to reach 10,000 people by year ten. That means, expect the event to return to the beach for years to come.

"In the biggest sense, it's just another added tourist event for the city of Myrtle Beach and Horry County, as a whole," says Roberts.

Normally, our area draws people to the beach or our golf courses but the XCON world convention draws in a different type of visitor, one that prefers to get their entertainment indoors, which means more newcomers to Myrtle Beach.

"We've had presales from Ohio, California, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Florida," says Roberts. "This year I haven't seen any from Europe, but in years past we've had them come from England, France and Portugal."

They're optimistic this event could reach tens of thousands of comic book lovers for years to come. The impact is beyond the walls of the convention center.

"Our four host hotels are all sold out, so we're gonna have to have some more host hotels next year," says Roberts.

When you look at the big picture, we're seeing growth across the board already for 2014. The latest report from CCU shows a more than 16 percent increase in visitors in our hotels and condos from last year to this year.

You can buy a three day badge at the event for $25, but if you have kids 12 and under, they can attend for free.

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