Hidden away in the southernmost corner of Illinois is the home of the Man of Steel. Big Superman fans, my kids and I ventured out in pursuit of "truth, justice and the American way" last year and found ourselves at the 28th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, the tiny Illinois town that shares its name with the city that was home to the DC Comics superhero.
Each year, tiny Metropolis—think Smallville, the rural, boyhood home of Clark Kent—hosts the Superman Celebration. It draws Super Fans from across the galaxy (we met people from Canada, France and Japan). The festival is June 7-10 this year.
Like most small-town fests, the Superman Celebration features a carnival, food booths and various vendors. Unlike others, this one draws Super Celebrities. Last year’s guest list included Stephen Bender, who plays young Clark Kent in "Superman Returns," Michael Rosenbaum, alias Lex Luthor, from TV’s "Smallville," and Noel Neill who played Lois Lane in the 1950s TV series, "The Adventures of Superman."
While in Metropolis, you can visit the country’s only Superman Museum as well as the Americana Hollywood Museum featuring pop nostalgia from the last century. Both are loaded with interesting collectibles and memorabilia. And don’t forget to get your picture taken next to the 15-foot bronze Superman statue in front of city hall.
Travel-wise, this trip is not for the faint of heart. It was six hours each way and 800 miles round trip. But we thought it was fun to see fans (some of them a little obsessed) dressed up as their favorite costumed characters and walking the streets. Entire families, including pets, were dressed in Superman garb.
"Superman appeals to the best of what we all hope we have inside of us," says comic writer Marv Wolfman.
I suppose there are worse things to obsess about.