Getting dressed up as your favorite character and putting on costume makeup isn't just for Halloween anymore.
Whether you're a furry, a Trekkie, or just into comic books, there's a festival to fulfill your fandom needs.
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 2011 Emmy Awards, Jim Parsons from the hit TV show "The Big Bang Theory" won his second 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 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 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.
Oct. 21- 23, 2011 Necronomicon, St. Petersburg: Ben Bova 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. http://www.stonehill.org/necro.htm
Oct. 21 Oct. 23, 2011 The Vampire's Ball, Orlando: A vampire-themed dance performance put on by the Orlando Ballet. Tickets range from $15-$75. http://orlandoballet.org/performances/vampires-ball/
Oct. 21-23, 2011: EXP Convention, St. Augustine: A weekend long all ages event to be held at the Renaissance Resort is St. Augustine. The main purpose of EXP Con is to celebrate and promote American and Japanese video gaming, anime, manga, cosplay, and the melding of Japanese and American pop-culture. http://www.expcon.org/
Oct. 21-23, 2011 GatorCon3, Gainesville: GatorCon3 is a three-day mini-convention for gaming. Games include Dungeons and Dragons, Ashes of Athis and Pathfinder Society. http://warhorn.net/gatorcon3/
Oct. 28-30, 2011 Away Mission Orlando: This Star Trek convention is hosted by Vulcan Events and will feature celebrity guests Sir Patrick Stewart, David Warner and Jewel Staite. Guests can pay to get an autograph or get a photo with any of the celebrities. Prices vary. http://www.vulcanevents.com/events/orlando-2011.html
Oct. 29, 2011 Furloween 13, Orlando: This year's theme for the furries dinner dance party is "where nightmares do come true." http://www.floridafurs.com/furloween
Nov. 4 6, 2011 Hurricane Who: Category Two Convention, Orlando: Hurricane Who, a Doctor Who fan group, will be hosting a weekend-long convention devoted to Doctor Who and British science fiction. http://www.hurricanewho.com/
Nov. 4 6, 2011 Chibi-Pa, Palm Beach Gardens: 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 Marriott Hotel and tickets range from $15-$35. http://chibipa.com/news.php
Nov. 6, 2011 North Florida Collector's Show, Jacksonville: Admission is free to see collector's comic books, sports cards, toys, statues and more at 3130 Hartley Road in Jacksonville. http://northfloridacollectorsshow.webs.com/apps/calendar/showEvent?calID=5862460&eventID=144431498