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The organizers of Denver Pop Culture Con, the Rocky Mountain region’s largest cultural convention, on Monday canceled the May 2021 event.
Denver Pop Culture Con annually draws an average of 115,000 total attendees over its three-day weekend of comics, books, celebrity appearances and more at the Colorado Convention Center.
“We had to cancel in 2020, and uncertainty around large public gatherings isn’t going away anytime soon,” said Adam Kullberg, interim executive director for Pop Culture Classroom, in a press statement. “Considering the impact that the pandemic has had on our organization and budget, it just won’t be possible in 2021 to hold the kind of show people have come to expect.”
The convention, formerly known as Denver Comic Con, only operated for one year (in 2019) as Denver Pop Culture Con before organizers were forced to cancel this year’s gathering due to coronavirus preparations at the Colorado Convention Center — which is owned by the city.
Pop Culture Classroom, the educational nonprofit that programs Denver Pop Culture Con, had first pushed this year’s July 3-5 convention to November before eventually canceling it on June 1, citing Denver’s retrofitting of the convention center into a temporary medical facility.
“Without the planned revenue for the event in 2020 — and now 2021 — we’ve also been forced to eliminate staff positions related to the annual event,” Kullberg said. “We are shifting our efforts and staffing to focus on our core educational mission going forward, and will be providing as many opportunities for pop culture-based education, instruction, and creative community connection as we can in the face of a challenging public health environment and serious budgetary constraints.”
A spokesman for the event said six of 11 staff positions were eliminated, all tied directly to Denver Pop Culture Con. The event has typically had an economic impact of about $10 million, according to the Denver Business Journal. It serves as its nonprofit parent’s largest annual fundraiser, funding 90% of Pop Culture Classroom’s work.
“Pop Culture Classroom may not survive without support from our community,” Kullberg said. “We’re asking anyone who values the work we do to donate to keep our programs going.”
Charitable donations to Pop Culture Classroom can be made at popcultureclassroom.org/donate-2.
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