Hutchinson to celebrate its Superman origins claim with festival

06/16/2014 6:12 PM

06/16/2014 6:14 PM

A Kansas city that says it is the inspiration for Superman’s hometown on Earth plans to celebrate the supposed link with a festival this week.

Hutchinson again will assume the identity of Smallville, the fictional town where the superhero-to-be was raised as Clark Kent by a couple who found him when he crash-landed on the planet as a young child.

The name change is part of the Smallville, Kansas Festival, which begins Thursday and features a comic convention at the state fairgrounds over the weekend.

Superman’s hometown has often been depicted as being somewhere in Kansas, although no specific city was ever named, and some Superman fans claim different states as his hometown. In the 2013 film “Man of Steel,” Clark Kent declares: “I grew up in Kansas. That’s about as American as it gets.”

In response, the state inducted Superman into its Kansas Hall of Fame last June.

Three Hutchinson men – Christopher Wietrick, Ben Eisiminger and Casey McNeely – persuaded city officials last year to rename the town Smallville for one day, and the event was such a success that they are promoting the longer celebration this year.

“I want it to serve as a reminder that something little can make a difference,” Wietrick said. “The festival is about giving back and celebrating our heroes.”

The organizers’ claim that Hutchinson is Smallville’s inspiration is based on a few clues that have appeared in various “Superman” stories on page and screen throughout the years.

The Smallville Festival will include picnics, bands, artwork and Superman-themed merchandise, such as “kryptonite” necklaces.

Wietrick said he is really looking forward to Friday, when he will present medals to Smallville heroes who make a difference in Hutchinson.

“It’s a way for me to feel like a superhero and give back to the community,” Wietrick said.

Jon and Troy Robinson will host the first Smallville comic convention at the Kansas State Fairgrounds, complete with celebrities, writers, artists and others interested in the superhero world. Anthea Bryant, nonfair events director, said 75 vendors and 25 artists will attend ComicCon.

Proceeds from the convention will be donated to the Reno County Red Cross and Wounded Warriors Project.

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