By Adrienne Cutway
9:14 AM EDT, May 20, 2013
Florida's got fanboy down. Where else can you count on an annual Wookie sighting?
Disney's Star Wars Weekends, though, going on from May 17 to June 9 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, is just one of Florida's great offerings for movies, TV, comics and the like with a rabid fan base.Whether you're a furry, a Trekkie, or just into comic books, there's a festival to fulfill your fandom needs no matter what time of year it is.
America's "nerd culture" is on the rise. Comic conventions, which used to be small events that catered to only the most hardcore fans, are now selling out tickets within hours. But if you couldn't get a coveted ticket to this year's San Diego Comic Con, don't fret because attending an awesome convention may not necessarily mean travelling across the country.
Our very own Sunshine State has a convention for every type of fan boy and girl. Even if you've never played a game of Dungeons & Dragons or watched an anime film, attending one of these conventions could prove to be a fun time.
In recent years, some of the biggest box office hits could be described as nerdy. Think "Avatar" and the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Transformers films, not to mention Star Wars, Twilight, Spider-Man, X-Men, Batman, Iron Man -- need I say more?
Nerdy characters aren't just limited to the big screen either. During the 2012 Emmy Awards, Jim Parsons from the hit TV show "The Big Bang Theory" won his third consecutive Emmy award proving that nerdy guys can be popular too. Socially awkward braniancs aside, let's not forgot the hyper sexualized sci-fi characters in "True Blood" or the hungry zombies in "The Walking Dead."
If you're hopping on the nerd bandwagon for the first time, know that the comic con attire is anything but casual. These events serve as a fashion show for cosplayers with handmade replicas of some of the most elaborate getups seen in movies, comic books and more.
Know, too, that some ladies tend to make their costumes a little risqué. In fact, Adrianne Curry, winner of the first season of America's Next Top Model, was kicked out of comic-con for wearing her all-too-revealing cosplay rendition of Aeon Flux.
Depending on how confident you are in your costume-crafting skills, you can enter one of the character contests. Participants are invited to take the stage and showcase their ensembles, at some conventions contestants are even asked to embody their character for a short skit.
So grab your costumes and your comic books and be sure to check out one of Florida's many events meant to cater to fans of every type.
Jan. 3-5, 2014, Sukoshicon, Fort Walton Beach: Sukoshicon is the "social anime convention," there will be anime panels, console games, contests, cosplays and exhibitors. Visit sukoshicon.com/index.html
Jan. 12-13, 2013 GatorCon4, Gainesville: GatorCon3 is a three-day mini-convention for gaming. Games include Dungeons and Dragons, Ashes of Athis and Pathfinder Society. Visit www.warhorn.net/gatorcon4/
March 21 - 23, 2014 MegaCon, Orlando: Megacon will be coming to the Orange County Convention Center, guests this year include Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca and Tom Kane a.k.a. Yoda from the Star Wars series, plus Herbert Jefferson Jr. from "Battlestar Galactica." Visit www.megaconvention.com
March 17 - April 1, 2013 "The Nerd," Panama City Beach: "The Nerd" is a comedic performance which will be performed at the Kaleidoscope Theatre. The play is about a 34-year-old man whose house guest, described as a nerd, outstays his welcome making for funny situations. Visit www.kt-online.org/shows.php?id=256
March 19-23, 2014 IAFA 35, Orlando: The purpose of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts is to promote and recognize achievement in the study of the fantastic, guests of honor at this year's convention are Nnedi Okorafor and Ian McDonald. Visit www.iafa.highpoint.edu/
March 2, 2013 Sun Coast CGA Show, Punta Gorda: This show is devoted to anime and gaming of all types. It will be held at the Charlotte Harbor Events Center. Visit www.suncoast.cgashows.com/home.php
May 3-5, 2013 Khaotic Kon, Tampa: Khaotic Kon is Tampa bay's premier anime, video game, and sci-fi convention, for its second year it will be at the Sheraton Tampa East. Visit www.khaotickon.com
May 17 - June 9, 2013 Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Orlando: This is an annual event at Disney that highlights the Star Wars series. Several characters will be present, and there will be Star Wars-themed events like Jedi Training and a Hyperspace Hoopla dance party. Visit www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/hollywood-studios/star-wars-weekend/
May 24-26, 2013 Oasis 26, Orlando: Events for this convention include panels and signings, gaming, filking, masquerade, a charity auction and a video room. Tickets can be purchased by the day or as packages with discounts provided for children. www.oasfis.org
May 24-26, 2013 Florida Anime Experience, Orlando: The Florida Anime Experience is a new fan convention designed to focus specifically on Japanese animation, manga and popular culture, this year's convention will be the second annual. Visit www.floridaanime.com
June 1-2, 2013 Knightrokon, Orlando: Knightrokon is a gaming and anime event held in the University of Central Florida's Student Union and hosted by Anime Spot, a club at UCF. Visit www.knightrokon.com
June 15, 2013 Hurricane Who's Summer Night, Orlando: Fans can get autographs and photos at this "Doctor Who"-themed event. Visit www.hurricanewho.com
July 26-28, 2013 Megaplex, Orlando: Megaplex has been Florida's furry arts and entertainment convention since 2002. Performances at the convention will focus on fursuiting, puppetry and improvisation. Visit www.my.megaplexcon.org
Aug. 16-18, 2013 Anime Festival, Orlando: This festival, described as Florida's favorite Japanese anime convention, will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld. Visit www.animefestivalorlando.com
Sept. 6-8, 2013 UmiCon, Daytona Beach: UmiCon will be held at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach. It is an up and coming anime and gaming convention with deep roots in the local community, as well as other anime conventions. Visit www.umicondaytona.com
Sept. 14, 2013 CGA Nature Coast, Crystal River: This show is devoted to anime and gaming of all types. It will be held at Double Tree Oceanfront. Visit www.naturecoast.cgashows.com
Oct. 4-6, 2013 ShadoCon, Tampa: This convention is devoted to video games, anime and comics and will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa. Visit www.shadocon.com/
Oct. 18-20, 2013 FANdom, Pensacola: This convention will be hosted at the University of West Florida and will feature costume contests, raves, panel discussions, quidditch, a masquerade ball and more. Tickets range from $8-$45. Visit www.fandomcon.com/
Oct. 18- 21, 2013 Necronomicon, St. Petersburg: Christopher Paolini will be the guest of honor at this year's Necronomicon, a convention for science fiction, fantasy and horror. This marks the convention's 30th year and it will be held at the Hilton Bayfront in St. Petersburg. Visit www.stonehill.org/necro.htm
Oct. 19 - 21, 2012 The Vampire's Ball, Orlando: A vampire-themed dance performance put on by the Orlando Ballet. Tickets range from $15-$75. Visit www.orlandoballet.org/performances/vampires-ball
Oct. 19, 2013 Furloween, Orlando: This year's mascot for the furries dinner dance party is the hyena, but furries of all breeds are welcome. "Visit www.floridafurs.com/furloween
Fall, 2014 (Date TBA) Away Mission, Tampa: This Star Trek convention, hosted by Vulcan Events, will return with celebrity guests after a hiatus in 2013. Guests can pay to get an autograph or get a photo with any of the celebrities. Prices vary. Visit www.away-mission.com
Nov. 1 - 3, 2013 Hurricane Who: Category Four Convention, Orlando: Hurricane Who, a "Doctor Who" fan group, will be hosting a weekend-long convention devoted to "Doctor Who" and British science fiction. Visit www.hurricanewho.com
Nov. 22 -24, 2013 Chibi-Pa, Deerfield Beach: Chibi-Pa is an Anime and cultural festival with the goal of expanding guests' knowledge of Japanese Anime. This year's festival is at the Doubletree by Hilton and tickets range from $15-$35. Visit www.chibipa.com/news.php
Nov. 3, 2013 North Florida Comic Con, Jacksonville: Admission is $5 to see collector's comic books, sports cards, toys, statues and more at 3130 Hartley Road in Jacksonville. Visit www.northfloridacomiccon.com/
Dec. 2-9, 2012 Furry Cruise, Port Canaveral: All furries are invited to come together and cruise to the Bahamas on a Royal Caribbean; the ship will sail out of Port Canaveral. www.furrycruise.com/
Dec. 13- 15, 2013 Holiday Matsuri, Orlando: Holiday Matsuri is a new multi-genre convention with holiday cheer. All three days will be celebrating anime, video games, sci-fi, celebrity guests, cosplayers, artists, costume & cosplay contests, parties, and more. Visit www.holidaymatsuri.com/
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