RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday marked the first time since 2019 that Galaxycon was back in full force.

“It’s just great to see everything back on track. Great to see a lot of people out here. It’s a huge comeback for them. Coming back from the pandemic [and] still going strong,” said Damond Allen, who was dressed in full costume.

Last year, the pandemic forced event organizers to scale it down.

This is Eric Baxley’s first year attending. He made the trip from Columbia, South Carolina. 

“This is my first time going as a character that people actually recognize and so when I get people passing by me, they are pointing me out and saying hey, that’s Doctor Strange. I love that,” he said with smile.

People were excited to stop and take pictures with him. However, he’s also keeping safety in mind.

“We are concerned a little bit. I do have some masks with me just in case I’m in an area that’s really close together [and] we are packed in a hall or whatnot. I am trying to generally keep my distance. If anybody is wearing a mask, I try to make sure to respect their boundaries,” Baxley explained.

Lariyah Smith, who made the trip from Tampa, Florida, also made sure she was safe too.

“[I’m] making sure my hands are sanitized and keeping clean,” she stated.

CBS 17 noticed hand sanitizer stations and masks available throughout the Raleigh Convention Center.

Aside from COVID-19, we also noticed the presence of Raleigh police officers.

With so many in attendance on day one, organizers are hoping for same the success from 2019.

They said Galaxycon represented a more than $7.5 million annual economic impact for the area.  

“It is still going strong and they still love the fans. You know, with the special guests and everything it is just a wonderful experience,” Allen said.

Doors for day two Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. and runs through 12:30 a.m. 

Galaxycon will be going on through Sunday.