SAN DIEGO – The first full day of San Diego Comic-Con wrapped Thursday with a star-studded red carpet event as thousands upon thousands of costume-clad people descended upon the Gaslamp District.

At a red carpet event at the Hard Rock Hotel on Fifth Avenue, the stars of Comic-Con mingled with locals to relax and share some of the secrets of their craft. One face in attendance was actress Emily Hampshire, known for playing the dark-humored motel clerk Stevie on “Schitt’s Creek.”

“This is my first time at Comic-Con with my own comic,” Hampshire said. “Coming back to Comic-Con with that is like the dream-come-true that I never even knew I had.”

For fans and celebrities alike, they missed the annual celebration of all things pop culture. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and scaled-down and held largely virtually a year ago. Although some pandemic mitigation measures remain, it feels more like the days of old, bringing back fond feelings for some.

“You never know what you have until it’s gone,” “Power Rangers: Shattered Past” actor Colin K. Bass said. “Getting back into it has been amazing. I did miss it. I didn’t know how much I missed it until I was here.”

It was the first trip to San Diego for actor André Dae Kim of “Vampire Academy” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

“This is my first time,” he said. “First Comic-Con, first time in San Diego. I love it. You guys have gorgeous waterfronts”

For the fans, there’s some relief in returning to Comic-Con. The pandemic pause even gave some extra time to get creative with their cosplay.

“I am a mash-up between Captain America and Spider-Man, two of my favorite superheroes, one attendee said.

“You can call me Spider-Woman,” another said. “It’s my first time. Really fun dressing up and seeing all the real cosplay and meeting all the people and taking photos. It’s been really fun.”