Ocala-con has biggest turnout yet

GAINESVILLE, FLA. (WCJB) -- Thousands of people grabbed their capes, wigs, and costumes to show off their fan pride at this weekends Ocala-con.
5 years after it began, the fantasy-themed event has grown considerably.

What once was a small event with only a few vendors and several hundred visitors has ballooned into a full-fledged fantasy fan experience.
Kayla Carr who spent hours dressing up as her favorite comic book character Harley Quinn said, "It definitely has gotten bigger I've noticed a lot more variety in like vendors and artists and even the special guests they're bringing in, every year they're doing something different."

Michael Medeiro is a vendor and owns Bearded Browncoat Comic and Games, a local comic book store. He has been a vendor at Ocala-con four years in a row and explained how it's grown. "You can definitely see the growth, when we started off they were open a few years before I got involved but since I've been involved they've just been steadily been adding more and more people and a lot more people in costume which is great. So you can see the involvement is getting higher and the interest is growing."

Large crowds on Saturday thinned out on Sunday but the essence of Ocala-con still remained.
TV20's Landon Harrar reported "events like these in large cities like Tampa and Orlando can draw tens of thousands of visitors. Although Ocala-con continues to grow every year, for many fans the smaller city atmosphere brings forth its own unique experience."

Patty Hawkins is the host for special guests as well as an event organizer he said, "the nice thing about a local medium homegrown comic-con such as this is it enables you to do everything in the two days, or you can crash through it and do it all in one day. The fact of the matter is if you just want to whet your beak you get that experience."

Medeiro added, "the Mega-con and your Tampa Bay comic-con and those types of shows are great, they're huge shows with a lot of people, but some people find that intimidating. So the fact you can come here and still do your nerd thing for lack of a better word in a smaller atmosphere is probably very welcoming to people."

Organizers say they would like to expand the event to a larger space in the coming years to attract even more fantasy fans but are still trying to find where that space could be.