Anime and Cosplay

Denver Pop Culture Con Postponed to Thanksgiving Weekend

Fans — including the Big Blue Bear — will have to wait until November to get their pop-culture fix.
Fans — including the Big Blue Bear — will have to wait until November to get their pop-culture fix. Teague Bohlen
Time to store the Superman sparklers and grab a Galactus gravy boat. As many fans had already surmised, Denver Pop Culture Con won’t be happening over the July 4 weekend this year. Because of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and designation of the Colorado Convention Center as overflow hospital space, DPCC organizers are moving the 2020 convention to Thanksgiving weekend, November 27-29, 2020.

“We believe this postponement is the best option for the safety and well-being of our attendees and the citizens of Denver,” said convention director Christina Angel in a statement released on April 6. “We know that many hard-working people — from local businesses, to creators, partner organizations, artists, and other vendors —rely on events like Denver Pop Culture Con to pay the bills and feed families, and we will continue our commitment to supporting our community during this difficult time.”

Fans, who were already vociferously divided over the convention being set over a holiday weekend in the summer, are already voicing their opinions about the timing on Facebook. “No one who works retail will be there,” said Ben Salazar. “Thanksgiving is a horrid weekend to hold it after all this. No one will show up. They should just bite the bullet and cancel.” But others are positive about the new date. “This honestly seems like a better weekend than July 4th,” said Sean Moore. Paul Ballew agreed: “Super-Thanksgiving will be the most fun ever.” And as Joe Rollman summed it up, “After all this it’ll be packed whatever weekend they pick.”

We contacted Angel to ask about the postponement, the new plans for fall, and what this move portends for the future of DPCC.

Westword: What’s the backstory on trading the July 4 holiday weekend to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend? Was that selection purposeful on DPCC's part, or was it essentially the only date you were offered?

Christina Angel: The decision was largely made for us due to the convention center being utilized as a potential hospital or homeless housing space through at least June. Because events didn’t happen in March and April and won’t in May or June, space was extremely limited, and Thanksgiving weekend was our only option to hold an event in 2020. The dates aren’t our first choice, but we’ll lean into them to provide the best con possible. And hopefully by that time, we’ll have plenty to be thankful for and be able to connect with our community in a meaningful way. 

There was a built-in patriotic theme to the July 4 date; will DPCC be adopting a new and different approach for the fall?

Yes. When we get to the other side of this trying time, giving thanks will take on a whole new meaning. In the meantime, we’re maintaining our community initiatives and support, and a holiday is a good reminder of how important shared human connection — even over something as seemingly unimportant as pop culture — is to us all. 

Have you heard anything from the comics retailers that are (for now) shuttered because of the pandemic?

This is a difficult time for comic shops and many other businesses in our community. We’re working to not only provide value to those most directly impacted by the necessary decision to postpone Denver Pop Culture Con until November, we’re also striving to serve our wider community, including and especially students, families, and others impacted by coronavirus, with links resources for those in need and more.

What new health precautions will you be taking for a public gathering the size of DPCC?

The convention center has its own measures in place, and we will be upping our game in terms of providing hand-sanitizing stations, communications about distance as needed, and doing what we can to follow all guidelines that will likely still be in place by November. 

Do you anticipate this affecting the date for DPCC 2021?

At this time, we don’t know; in the “wait and see” model we are all in right now, all we can say is we are monitoring the situation at all times, exploring options as needed, and making contingency and other plans as they become necessary. 

Any message to the fans of DPCC?

Thanks for asking this! Yes. To all of our attendees, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors and guests: We love you. We are thinking of you, hoping you are all healthy and safe, and taking care of yourselves and each other in this challenging time. We’re sad we won’t see you all in July, but we look forward to getting together in November, hopefully to give thanks that we made it through this, and to celebrate our fandoms and our community. 

Tickets for the July event will automatically be valid for the new November dates, with no action required on the part of the ticket-holders. DPCC is currently contacting vendors, exhibitors, panelists and guests to confirm new arrangements, and additional details will be announced both at and on all social media platforms.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen