Celebrate Superman in the Man of Steel's hometown of Metropolis, Illinois

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Apr 29, 2019, 6:13 AM EDT (Updated)

Have you ever wished the fictional cities in DC Comics were real? Well, in the case of Metropolis, there actually is a real one.

45 years ago, National Periodicals (now known as DC) officially named the small town of Metropolis, Illinois (population: less than 6,500) the home of Superman.

For the past 39 years, the town has held an annual festival to honor the Man of Steel called, appropriately, the Superman Celebration.

Unlike some fan conventions you may attend, this takes on the feel of a small town county fair, with plenty of events held outside in the month of June.

"We are dedicating our entire celebration this year to the memory of Noel Neill, the first lady of Metropolis," said tourism official Trish Steckenrider.

Neill, a favorite of the celebration for many years, passed away last July. She was best known for portraying Lois Lane onscreen in movie serials, and in the 1950s television series.

"Ten years ago, we had the Hollywood Ball, a costume event, with big band music and we celebrated her life and career in the 1940s and '50s. We will have that again this year," said Steckenrider.

Big guests in attendance this year include the original movie Lois, Margot Kidder, the 1990s TV Superman (and frequent Supergirl guest star) Dean Cain, Smallville actor/fan favorite James Marsters, and Sarah Douglas, who portrayed Ursa in the Christopher Reeve Superman movies. Comic book creatives Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti will also be in attendance.

The final day of the celebration is also a lot of fun, with the annual Heroes and Villains Costume Contest. Yes, it wouldn't be a fan event without plenty of cosplay.

There's also a nightly carnival and screenings of various Superman films throughout the weekend.

If you're a fan of the Man of Tomorrow and his various friends and enemies, it's a must-visit event. This year's Superman Celebration will be held June 8-11. It has previously attracted upwards of 20,000 people, so you may want to make hotel reservations ahead of time.

Of course, if you can't make it to the annual celebration, the 15-foot Superman statue and matching Noel Neill/Lois Lane statue are there year round -- as is the giant "Kryptonite Rock" in town.

One must-visit location is The Super Museum with more than 70,000 items related to the Last Son of Krypton. The rotating collection on display (which only represents about 10 percent of founder Jim Hambrick's entire collection) includes nearly every Superman toy produced, comic book memorabilia, and live-action items such as the George Reeves color costume, the Christopher Reeve movie costume (as well as Reeve's Superman wigs from each film), a Dean Cain costume, Helen Slater's Supergirl costume, crystals of knowledge from Krypton, and Marlon Brando's wig from Superman: The Movie. The museum, which opened in 1993, also appeared on Travel Channel's Mysteries at the Museum.

So, if you find yourself on I-24, Metropolis is one of the most super exits you'll ever come across.

What Fantripping spot do you think we should visit next? Let us know your nerdy travel destinations in the comments below!