This might be the easiest year to be a fan in human history.
Just about every off-kilter thing you can love unconditionally has its own fan convention in 2016, which is good for your obsession but probably less so for your pockets.
Convention season started last weekend in Orlando with the Omni Expo and CONjure events drawing hundreds to see former Dino Thunder Power Rangers Jeff Parazzo and Kevin Duhaney and The 100's Dichen Lachman. Stalwarts of the Central Florida con scene have rolled out heavy hitting lineups featuring everyone from comic creator and legend Stan Lee to The Vampire Diaries' super hunk Ian Somerhalder.
Location shake-ups are also hot this year with this weekend's Fanboy Expo opening doors in Lakeland after years in Tampa, and November's ShadoCon leaving Palm Harbor for downtown St. Petersburg.
Lineups haven't been finalized for all conventions, but most have an idea of what they'll offer hordes of geeks descending on cities across the state this year.
Here's a list of the awesome yet to come:
Movie Stills Databse
Catherine Bach, Tom Wopat and John Schneider of The Dukes of Hazzard will be at Fanboy Expo.
Saturday and Sunday
Lakeland Center, 701 Lime St., Lakeland
$50-$99 passes, $25-$30 daily, kids under 12 are free
What to expect: The Fanboy Expo is a collectible and memorabilia convention with featured guests from classic TV, pro-wrestling, animation and movies. This year's lineup includes Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie); Chyna (WWE superstar); Dawn Wells (Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island); Irene Bedard (voice of Disney's Pocahontas); Bill Farmer (voice of Disney's Goofy); Ed Asner (Lou Grant of The Mary Tyler Moore Show); Tony Anselmo (Disney's Donald Duck); John Schneider, Tom Wopat and Catherine Bach (Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard); Verne Troyer (Mini-Me of Austin Powers); Ric Flair (WWE Superstar); Ricky Steamboat (pro wrestler); Lori Petty (Orange is the New Black); and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite).
International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts
Orlando Airport Marriott, 7499 Augusta National Drive, Orlando
$85 IAFA North America membership, $165 regular members, $110 student members
What to expect: A celebration all things horror from music to movies. Featured guests include Alice Cooper; Drea de Matteo; Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell Smith of Weird Science; A Nightmare on Elm Street's Heather Langenkamp; Paul Sorvino and Frank Sivero of The Godfather; Terry Alexander, Lori Cardille, Barry Anderson, Michael J. Tomaso and Gary Klar of Day of the Dead; and Alex Vincent of Child's Play.
Fifth Doctor Peter Davison will be at the Bon Voyage Paradox.
Bon Voyage Paradox
Florida Hotel & Conference Center, 1500 Sand Lake Road, Orlando
What to expect: The party by Hurricane Who before people board the Sci-Fi Sea Cruise will feature appearances from fifth Doctor Who Peter Davison and a handful of other actors from the new and old series; sadly sixth Doctor Colin Baker and eighth doctor Paul McGann are now out.
Florida Anime Experience
Park Inn by Radisson Resort & Conference Center, 3011 Maingate Lane, Kissimmee
What to expect: Science Fiction writers will convene to talk about their works and trends. Creators set to appear include Brad Aiken, Ben Bova, Richard Lee Byers, Craig Caldwell, Jeff Carroll, Derek Demeter, Nick DiChario, Shaun Duke, Owl Goingback, William Hatfield, Elle E. Ire, José Iriarte, Aria Kane, Jamie Marchant, Sandra McDonald, Jeff Mitchell, Ann Morris, Kendall F. Morris, Stanley Morrison, Mari Ness, Gary Roen, Elenora Sabin, Elizabeth Schechter, Rubey Shea, Benjamin Sperduto, Rick Wilber and Ed Wysocki.
George Takei, Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek at MegaCon in Orlando.
Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando
What to expect: If you're a fan on anything MegaCon probably has you covered. This year's blockbuster lineup includes Stan Lee; Star Trek's William Shatner, George Takei and Nichelle Nichols; Star Wars' Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett); Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future); The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, Lennie James and Tom Payne; Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter); writer/director/actor Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob); actor John Cusack; Doctor Who's Michelle Gomez, Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman; Batman's Adam West and Burt Ward; Vivica A. Fox (Independence Day, Kill Bill); and Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds).
Southern Media Con
SpringHill Suites Tampa Westshore Airport, 4835 W Cypress St., Tampa
What to expect: No big name guests have been announced for the con formerly known as VidCon. The newly branded event describes itself as "a group of fans who gather each year in the Tampa Bay area to spend a couple days discussing all aspects of TV shows and movies."
Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa
What to expect: Florida's largest anime convention is still locking down guests, but among them are voice actor Cristina Vee (Sailor Mars) as well as the return of convention faves Robbie Daymond (Tuxedo Mask), Scott McNeil (Piccolo) and author Amelie Belcher (Loud Snow, Bounty Haunters).
Anime Festival Orlando
Wyndham Orlando Resort, 8001 International Drive, Orlando
$40 early bird three-day pass; later $45-$60 weekend pass, $20-$45 daily
What to expect: In the past, this event has brought huge voice actors including Veronica Taylor, voice of Pokemon's Ash Ketchum. This year has Vic Mignogna (voice of Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist, Tamaki Suoh in Ouran High School Host Club, Zero in Vampire Knight, and Death Scythe in Soul Eater) and John Swasey (Gendo in Evangelion, the Captain in Halo, Lord Death in Soul Eater.)
Curt Mega, Dominic Barnes and Titus Makin Jr. of Glee.
What to expect: The fan meet formerly known as LeakyCon still has Harry Potter in its bones. 2016 guests include Curt Mega, Dominic Barnes and Titus Makin Jr. of Glee; Kim Rhodes of Supernatural; James Moran, screenwriter for Doctor Who; Ashley Clements and Mary Kate Wiles of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries; Joanna Sotomura, Dayeanne Hutton and Brent Bailey of Emma Approved; and music from Harry and the Potters, the Whomping Willows and more.
Land O'Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway in Land O'Lakes
What to expect: There are still months until doors open at Tampa's premier fan event and the guest list is already legendary. Krysten Ritter, star of Marvel's Jessica Jones, will appear alongside Ian McDiarmid (Star Wars' Emperor Palpatine), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon of The Walking Dead), Jack Gleeson (King Joffrey of Game of Thrones), Ray Park (Star Wars' Darth Maul), and Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton of Game of Thrones).
Embassy Suites Orlando Lake Buena Vista South, 4955 Kyngs Heath Road, Kissimmee
What to expect: So, there's a furry in convention in August in Florida. Don't forget your cooling packs and smelling salts. The British Invasion themed event will feature Vine star and wolf suit wearer Cosmic Wuffy and furry artist Tess Garman, also known as Kenket to the Sunshine State.
The Grand Brony Gala in 2013.
Grand Brony Gala
Sheraton Tampa East, 10221 Princess Palm Ave., Tampa
What to expect: This festival for the adult fans of the children's show My Little Pony are getting together again to celebrate their Bronymance. This year's guests include Peter New (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), Kelly Sheridan (My Little Pony Tales), Jayson Thiessen (supervising director, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), Ken Spivey Band (Time Lord rock group), Calpain of Equestria Daily, the S.S. HANAMI band and Joey Oropesa (Pony Meets World).
What to expect: Every year, Stone Hill brings writer of fantasy and horror to mingle with fans. Featured 2016 guests are husband and wife team Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due of the Tennyson Hardwick series. Due also famously penned The Between and the African immortals series.
Holiday Inn Suites across from Universal Studios, 5905 South Kirkman Road , Orlando
What to expect: Go, go Power Rangers fans to the Internet to buy tickets to the con of your dreams. Ranger Stop is famous for assembling series casts; so far they've booked Kevin Kleinberg and Deborah Estelle Philips of Power Rangers: Time Force.r>
What to expect: ShadoCon has changed locations and hasn't yet announced any guests. The annual anime, video game and comics convention usually lands solid voice acting talent including Jason Marsden (Max Goof of A Goofy Movie) in 2015.
Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley are among the Vampire Diaries guests.
The Vampire Diaries
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, 1751 Hotel Plaza Blvd., Lake Buena Vista
$499-$659 gold weekend package, all other prices TBA
What to expect: All the hot guys from the CW's hit series will be meeting fans this December — practically a Christmas miracle. Save up your coins to take a $229 picture with Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore). Also appearing Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore), Charles Michael Davis (Marcel Gerard of The Originals), Matthew Davis (Alaric Saltzman), Chris Wood (Kai Parker), Zach Roerig (Matt Donovan), Micah Parker (Adrian), Chase Coleman (Oliver on The Originals) and Oliver Ackland (Tristan de Martel of The Originals).
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