BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As COVID-19 restrictions ease up, more events are making their way to Central Alabama. This weekend, the Alabama Comic Con was back in town drawing in thousands of people.

The Alabama Comic Convention and My Hero Convention were supposed to be separate events, but organizers decided to combine the two events after they both had to reschedule due to the pandemic last year.

Every year, people gather in the convention center to celebrate their favorite comic book characters, superheroes and anime characters.

“It’s kind of like you’re meeting your favorite character, which is my favorite way of seeing this, oh like ‘I know that character,’ I want to get a picture with them because it’s like meeting them in real life,” said Mac Elrod and Emily Copeland.

Elrod and Copeland are regulars when it comes to comic con events. They said it’s an opportunity to connect with people who have a similar interest in pop culture.

“It’s been so long since we’ve been in a space with these people doing this kind of thing, it’s so much fun. When you do conventions and you’re in the cosplay aspect, usually the only time you hang out with these people is during conventions,” they said.

“You can come here and meet a lot of people who are as passionate about a movie or television show or anime that you also like,” said Greg Hanks, ABC Convention owner.

Hanks said the two-day event featured 150 vendors, 30 celebrity guest speakers and an opportunity for families to bond.

“There’s kind of a little bit of everything, we try to have age groups like there’s something for little kids all the way up to their parents and grandparents because we want everyone to come as a family together,” he said.

The event drew in over 10,000 people. Organizers and attendees say they hope to see this tradition grow in Birmingham.

“Do it as safely as we can be based on whatever guidelines we have, but you know, I think the event hasn’t been this busy or more since we opened,” Hanks said.

“I feel like if we keep going, the community will grow bigger and I guess just usual,” Elrod said.

Hanks said his team is already speaking with the BJCC about next year’s event, which will soon be announced to the public.