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Arts & Culture

Missed Out On Comic-Con? Get Your Geek On At Nerd Con In North County

Cosplayers of all genders, sizes, and ages come to Nerd Con, which will hold its second convention this weekend at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
Jon York
Cosplayers of all genders, sizes, and ages come to Nerd Con, which will hold its second convention this weekend at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.
Missed Out On Comic-Con? Get Your Geek On At Nerd Con In North County
The three-day event, which caters to the geek and cosplay community, takes over 12 acres of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido this weekend.

If you missed out on Comic-Con earlier this summer and feel a need to get your geek on this weekend, then Nerd Con is here for you. It’s taking over 12 acres of the California Center for the Arts in Escondido Friday to Sunday, with more than 5,000 people expected to attend.

Nerd Con brands itself as a convention for nerds by nerds with the goal of uniting the nerd community. As it enters its second year, it’s nowhere near as big as the well-established Comic-Con. But it’s trying to tap into geek culture in North County, particularly the cosplay community. Nerd Con president and co-founder Joel Jones said it caters to those who love to dress up as their favorite pop culture characters.

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Nerd Con 2016

“People can dress up in comic cosplay or video game cosplay or anime cosplay,” Jones said. “The great thing about Nerd Con is that it doesn’t really matter what level of expertise you have. People appreciate everything from a beginner to a professional cosplayer. And the cosplayers that we have that are guests are very nice and super open to having beginners come up to them and ask questions and help them to learn and kind of develop that craft. Plus, we have a variety of different vendors that will sell cosplay props and materials and a number of workshops and panels to help you develop your craft and the opportunity to ask questions about different techniques and molding materials.”

Jones and his friends came up with the idea for Nerd Con a few years ago.

“We were talking about why isn’t there a convention near us in North County San Diego and Riverside area that is affordable and fun to go to because we spend so much time traveling down to San Diego, deep south for San Diego Comic-Con. Or way up north to L.A. But why doesn’t somebody do this with a convention here that’s affordable and fun?” Jones recalled. “Then after awhile we just said why don’t we just do it? If we do it, we can make sure it’s done right and for the right reasons and not just to make money but to really focus on the fans and to make a convention that is fun and affordable.”

A sample of the cosplay that was on display at last year's Nerd Con.
Jon York
A sample of the cosplay that was on display at last year's Nerd Con.
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Only in its second year, Nerd Con is already using almost every inch of space at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. It's using conference rooms, the museum, the grassy outdoor areas and turning the Lyric Courtyard into the Cosplay Courtyard, where you can karaoke with Loki.

“We have a ton of different events going on throughout the whole weekend," Jones said. "We have panels for '80s, a panel for voice actors, panels for artists, comics and two different stages for live entertainment including video games put on by NB Productions.”

One-day tickets cost $12 for kids and $18 for adults. An adult pass for the whole weekend is $35.