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Saturday, June 15, 2024
<p>SwampCon attendees dressed as Sailor Moon characters pose for a picture at the multi-genre convention held in the Reitz Union on Saturday.</p>

SwampCon attendees dressed as Sailor Moon characters pose for a picture at the multi-genre convention held in the Reitz Union on Saturday.

People wearing capes, robes, skin-tight suits and hats adorned with animal ears were among those who attended the first SwampCon at the Reitz Union on Saturday.

The convention brought together about 1,600 fans of anime, gaming, role-playing and science fiction.

SwampCon featured a costume contest, a musical parody of the science-fiction television show "Doctor Who," and a panel discussing gaming and anime topics.

Attendees could also stop by a maid cafe, where servers dressed as maids and played games with the customers.

By the end of the day, the maid cafe ran out of cups and plates, and the convention had run out of wristbands.

The 500 chairs in the Reitz Union Ballroom were not enough to accommodate the crowd to watch the "Doctor Who" musical.

Gator Anime, Gator Gaming, Science Fiction Consortium and Delta Nu Delta Tabletop Gaming started planning the convention in late September, said Gator Anime president Ciara Powell, 20.

"We're hoping we can have a two-day convention next year," said Powell, an electrical engineering junior.

Gator Anime funded the convention with about $1,400 from Student Government, she said.

On the Reitz Union North Lawn, people with foam and wooden swords and shields engaged in live action role-playing, known as LARPing.

Kira and Kiko's Arts & Crafts displayed furry hats made to look like they had cat ears, which SwampCon attendees could buy earrings for.

A sign at Kira and Kiko's table read, "We'll pierce your hat even if you didn't buy it from us!"

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A banana-yellow 2000 Volkswagen Beetle with black-tipped ears and a tail was parked in front of the Reitz Union Colonnade during the convention.

The car was modeled after Pikachu, the yellow hamster-like character from Pokemon.

Belle Starenchak, 35, owns the car.

Starenchak, who goes by PikaBelleChu, is in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records Gamers Edition for her collection of Pikachu memorabilia.

Starenchak came to SwampCon dressed as Itachi from the anime show Naruto, wearing a floor-length black trench coat with blood-red details and a jet-black wig that framed her face.

"Escaping reality is always great," Starenchak said.

SwampCon attendees dressed as Sailor Moon characters pose for a picture at the multi-genre convention held in the Reitz Union on Saturday.

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