Sounds of fans, celebrity speakers, and even mechanical R2-D2’s echoed within the walls of the Orange County Convention Center for Orlando’s annual MegaCon event.

Over one-hundred thousand people came out to the event last week according to Ashley Jimenez-Gonzalez, Vice President of Carma PR. Celebrities included John Cusack, William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Christopher Lloyd, some of the cast of Harry Potter, along with many other notable names.

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While the event has passed, for some costume players or “cosplayers”, the passion that they have for their fandom is a year-round occasion.

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“It took about 6-8 months to make our costumes and another month to make the weapons”, Orlando natives and Monster Hunter cosplayers William Martin and Nick Volk explained.

To someone who is not familiar with the culture of cosplay, 6-8 months would seem like a lot of time for an event that only happens once a year. But as ReCore cosplayer Brooke Aubertin remarked, many cosplayers go to multiple events a year, “I try to go to at least 5 or 6 each year”.

For the cosplayers, it is more than just dressing up as their favorite fantasy characters, it is about connecting with people who share their passions.

“I love the community, everyone is so accepting. We’re all just nerds who love to dress up.”, Aubertin explained.

Once the event ends, it does not mean that the friendships made at the event end too. “We actually met last year at a convention and we are actually working on opening a business together soon”, Martin and Volk said.

Although those who are interested in Orlando MegaCon will have to wait till next year for the annual event, MegaCon Tampa Bay will begin on October 28th of this year. Tickets are available through MegaConTampaBay.com.