From Star Wars to comics to gamers, Florida has events to satisfy your inner nerd

Thousands from all over the galaxy visited the Orange County Convention Center on Sunday, August 15, 2010, for the last day of Star Wars: Celebration V . The event returns to Orlando in 2012. (Tom Benitez, Orlando Sentinel)

Florida's got fanboy down. Where else can you count on an annual Wookie sighting?

Disney's Star Wars Weekends, though, going on from May 17 to June 9 at Disney's Hollywood Studios, is just one of Florida's great offerings for movies, TV, comics and the like with a rabid fan base.

Whether you're a furry, a Trekkie, or just into comic books, there's a festival to fulfill your fandom needs no matter what time of year it is.

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 2012 Emmy Awards, Jim Parsons from the hit TV show "The Big Bang Theory" won his third 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 cosplayers with 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 cosplay 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.

Jan. 3-5, 2014, Sukoshicon, Fort Walton Beach: Sukoshicon is the "social anime convention," there will be anime panels, console games, contests, cosplays and exhibitors. Visit

Jan. 12-13, 2013 GatorCon4, Gainesville: GatorCon3 is a three-day mini-convention for gaming. Games include Dungeons and Dragons, Ashes of Athis and Pathfinder Society. Visit

March 21 - 23, 2014 MegaCon, Orlando: Megacon will be coming to the Orange County Convention Center, guests this year include Peter Mayhew, better known as Chewbacca and Tom Kane a.k.a. Yoda from the Star Wars series, plus Herbert Jefferson Jr. from "Battlestar Galactica." Visit

March 17 - April 1, 2013 "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. Visit

March 19-23, 2014 IAFA 35, 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 Nnedi Okorafor and Ian McDonald. Visit

March 2, 2013 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. Visit

May 3-5, 2013 Khaotic Kon, Tampa: Khaotic Kon is Tampa bay's premier anime, video game, and sci-fi convention, for its second year it will be at the Sheraton Tampa East. Visit

May 17 - June 9, 2013 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. Visit