ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — With each brushstroke, a painted freckle, a dash of color, Sammi Nystrom transforms into her next great character. From her middle-school days to now, she has been perfecting her art, the art of cosplay.

What You Need To Know

  • Fans flock to MegaCon Orlando after a year off

  • The 2020 event was called off because of the COVID pandemic

  • Organizers expect a huge crowd over the four-day convention

  • The event continues through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center

“That's really how it all started, looking through a magazine, found a convention, and that's how I discovered cosplay.” 

Attending her first convention at age 12, she's now been going to at least one convention a year for 16 years, hand-sewing and creating all of her costumes. 

Her new creation is making a debut at a convention that is making its return, MegaCon Orlando.

Inside one of the largest conventions in Florida, Sammi and hundreds of cosplayers — people who dress up like characters from a movie, book or video game — geared up for the weekend ahead at the Orange County Convention Center.

The convention, a huge comics, sci-fi, horror, Anime and gaming event, was canceled in 2020 because of safety concerns due to the COVID pandemic. Despite some last-minute guest cancellations, organizers still expected a large turnout. 

“Obviously, we've all been doing our part and staying safe up till now," FAN EXPO Vice President Andew Moyes said. "it's super-exciting to be back celebrating." 

For Nystrom, MegaCon is a welcome return to a new normal after nearly a year and a half away from the cosplay community. 

“Being able to come back to the cosplay scene and say hi to old friends and meet new friends, it's going to mean a lot," Nystrom said. "It really is a big portion of my life, and I'm so grateful to be returning to it.” 

MegaCon runs through Sunday. Since organizers are anticipating a large turnout, there is a mask mandate. Attendees are required to wear a mask at all times while inside the convention center.