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The dance group Orion's Envy made an appearance at last year's CyPhaCon. (Special to the American Press)

The dance group Orion's Envy made an appearance at last year's CyPhaCon. (Special to the American Press)

CyPhaCon returns downtown this weekend

Last Modified: Friday, April 04, 2014 11:08 AM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

Geeking out will be encouraged this weekend at CyPhaCon, the annual convention for science fiction, anime, gaming, cosplay and “all things geek.”

The event will be held Friday-Sunday at the Lake Charles Civic Center. It began four years ago and has since tripled in size.

“Our first year, we had about 500 people, this year we are expecting about 1,500, it has been a slow steady growth,” said Garrett Manuel, guest relations director for the event.

“We have made it a family-friendly event and catered to our fans and what they are looking forward to as far as science fiction, anime, people in the community and surrounding area.

“The cosplay contest, which takes place Saturday, is a popular event, we have mech pods and celebrity guests that come in every year.

“We had about 30 people in the cosplay costume last year. Costumes vary from anime to science fiction themes, different characters. One of the more unique one last year was a guy dressed up as General Grievous from Star Wars. It was very elaborate.

The event began as a forum for fans of anime and gaming.

“The purpose was to give Lake Charles something different and unique, and to bring people in from out of town, to make this an annual event. We have had people come from Kentucky, Illinois, Georgia, all over the country.”

A new addition this year is CyPhaKids, an area dedicated to children’s activities.

“It is a new event we are putting on for the children, there was a need for it last year,” Manuel said.

“People bought their kids to the event and there was really nothing for them to do. This new area is designed for them to learn about science fiction, anime, games in a teaching environment.

“We don’t remote anything for adults until after 10 p.m., most children are going to be gone by 7 p.m. We try to bring in groups that dress as characters kids will recognize — Batman, Robin, all these characters that kids love to see.

There will be plenty of options for adults as well.

“We are going to have panels, a couple of concerts, a bunch of gaming events, Lake Charles Scion is putting on a e-sports event for the League of Legends tournament, Paper Heroes is doing a tournament for Magic: The Gathering on Saturday, there is a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament Sunday and we will have 30 vendors and artists,” Manuel said.

After working at CyPhaCon for four yeas, Manuel said he has a new appreciation for the efforts that go into hosting such an event.

“I attend five or six conventions a year, as far as Atlanta for Dragon Con,” he said.

“It is different attending an event. I have been doing that for 15 years.

“It is an eye-opener when you do all of this work, then see people having fun, and then realize you are one of those people when you go somewhere else. When you realize that, it is a special feeling, it is rewarding when you know you are doing that for someone else.”

CyPhaCon will be held Friday from 5 p.m.-midnight; Saturday from 8 a.m.-midnight and Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the second and third floors of the Lake Charles Civic Center. Registration will be held on the third floor.


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