Community members bonded on Saturday over their shared interests in cosplaying, gaming and comics at FresCon, a comic convention at Fresno State.
“There isn’t much opportunity in the Central Valley to celebrate this,” said Alexis Orozco, the president of FresCon.
At the event, there were rooms dedicated to anime viewing and playing video games. In addition, the Fresno Foam Fighting Coalition visited to fight battles – with foam weapons.
Carmen Stevens, a member of the coalition, said that foam fighting satisfies her desire to be active, but in a manner that is entertaining.
“I’ve always been athletic – but I’ve also been a nerd,” Stevens said. “I have a very niche interest. It perfectly collides the two.”
FresCon culminated with a cosplay contest open to people of all ages. Cosplaying refers to dressing up and acting as a certain character. Marina Schaeffer, who was one of the judges for the contest, said she appreciates that FresCon is more intimate than larger conventions.
“I like that you get to meet people that you can actually connect with that don’t live three states away,” Schaeffer said.
Elizabeth Howard, a Fresno State student who was also a judge, said cosplaying allows people to openly embrace their interests. Through cosplaying, people can more easily see what characters people are fans of – and possibly connect with those who have mutual interests.
“When they see a character they love, they just smile and you’re like, ‘I just made someone’s day,’” Howard said. “That makes me smile.”
Often, people participating in cosplay make the costumes themselves rather than buying them. Howard said this can bring an added satisfaction to cosplaying. “It’s something you can take pride in.”
Best in show for the Kid’s Division was given to a child dressed as a yellow Power Ranger. The Best Kid’s Group was two people dressed as Batman and Baby Fett.
For the adults, Best Group was given to a group of individuals dressed as characters from the video game “Cuphead.” Third place for best in show was given to people dressed as Spider-man and Iron Fist, while second place was someone dressed as Incursio.
First place for best in show was given to Michelle and Rodney (they would not share their last name) – a brother/sister duo dressed as Okoye and M’Baku, characters from “Black Panther.”
Michelle said that she was inspired to dress as Okoye because of her affinity for “Black Panther.”
“It’s a culture of people who are very intelligent and very kind,” Michelle said. “The movie itself showed the struggles within, but at the end of the day, they’re able to say we all love each other.”