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
Nov. 11-13, 2011 ShadoCon, Tampa: This convention is devoted to video games, anime and comics and will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Tampa. http://www.shadocon.com/index.htm
Nov. 12-13, 2011 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 $3-$10. http://www.wix.com/fandom_con/fandom#
Dec. 5- 10, 2011 Furry Cruise, Fort Lauderdale: All furries are invited to come together and cruise on Royal Caribbean's Liberty to Labadee, Haiti and Falmouth, Jamaica; the ship will sail out of Fort Lauderdale. http://www.furrycruise.com/
Dec. 16- 18, 2011 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. http://holidaymatsuri.com/
Jan. 7-8, 2012, Sukoshicon, Destin: Sukoshicon is the "social anime convention," there will be anime panels, console games, contests, cosplays and exhibitors. http://sukoshicon.com/index.html
Jan. 8- 15, 2012 Star Trek Cruise, Fort Lauderdale: Celebrities and fans will be gathering for this Star Trek cruise on the Celebrity Solstice which will be leaving out of Fort Lauderdale and sailing to Grand Cayman, Mexico and Honduras. http://www.startrekcruise.com/
Feb. 17- 19, 2012 MegaCon, Orlando: Megacon will be coming to the Orange County Convention Center, guests this year include Tim Russ and Ethan Phillips from Star Trek, and Valerie Perrine from Superman. http://www.megaconvention.com/
March 3, 2012 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. http://knightrokon.com/
March 16-20, 2012 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. http://www.kt-online.org/shows.php?id=256
March 21-25, 2012 IAFA 33, 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 China Mieville and Kelly Link. http://iafa.highpoint.edu/
March 31, 2012 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. http://cgashows.com/e107_plugins/calendar_menu/event.php?1333206000.event.3
April 7, 2012 Space Coast CGA Show, Cocoa Beach: This show is devoted to anime and gaming of all types. It will be held at Double Tree Oceanfront. http://cgashows.com/e107_plugins/calendar_menu/event.php?1333774800.event.4
April 13-15, 2012 Khaotic Kon, Tampa: Khaotic Kon is Tampa bay's premiere Anime, Video game, And Sci-Fi convention coming early April of 2012 to the Westshore Double Tree Hotel. http://www.khaotickon.com/control.cfm?ID=1
May-June, 2012 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. http://www.orlando-florida.net/events/may/star-wars-weekends.htm
May 25- 27, 2012 Oasis 25, 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. http://oasfis.org/oasis/index.php
May 25-27, 2012 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. http://www.floridaanime.com/
July 27-29, 2012 Megaplex, Kissimmee: Megaplex has been Florida's furry arts and entertainment convention since 2002. Performances at the convention will focus on fursuiting, puppetry and improvisation. This year, the event is returning to the WorldGate Orlando Resort. https://my.megaplexcon.org/
Aug. 3-5, 2012 Anime Festival, Orlando: This festival, described as Florida's favorite Japanese anime convention, will be held at the Wyndham Orlando Resort. http://animefestivalorlando.com/
August 23-26, 2012 Star Wars Celebration, Orlando: Star Wars Celebration VI is inviting all Star Wars fans to come to the Orange County Convention Center to celebrate the film series and even check out the Star Tours: The Adventure Continues ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios. http://www.starwarscelebration.com/
Sept. 7-9, 2012 UmiCon, Daytona Beach: UmiCon will be held at the Plaza Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach. It is an up and coming Anime & Gaming Convention, they are deeply involved with the local community, as well as other Anime Conventions. http://umicondaytona.com/
From Star Wars to comics to gamers, Florida has events to satisfy your inner nerd
MegaCon Costume Contest 2010 (March 14, 2013)