This weekend you can see someone in a blue spiked wig with foam walking around Lancaster.

Friday marks the first day of the Zenkaikon anime convention, which runs over the weekend and is being held at the Lancaster County Convention Center for the first time since 2019.

Zenkaykon and its participants, dressed in hilarious costumes, bring the cosplay to the forefront of Lancaster on the weekends as people travel from all corners to attend the annual event.

For the uninitiated, cosplay, short for “costume game,” is the practice of dressing up a character from some media, be it TV shows, anime, movies or books. (This shouldn’t just include things from the media; people can dress up as their favorite characters they’ve created, or dress up as something completely original and unique).

Cosplay can be simple or complex, as the person wearing the cosplay wants. Some people are feverishly working on every detail of their costume, while others are more relaxed.

Jade Lind, a special education teacher from Roersford, which is about an hour east of Lancaster, loves cosplay. She has been involved in cosplay since 2014 and describes her costumes on her Instagram page, @arcadejade_.

Her favorite part of attending conventions is wearing the reaction she gets to the characters she portrays.

Lind is close friends with Kate and James Farbo, who own a store for games and goods Farbo Co. in downtown Lancaster, at 9 W. Grant St. Together they conducted master classes on cosplay and Dungeons & Dragons.

“They are very dear to my friends, who have a special place in my heart and love the culture of botanists as much as I do,” Lind said in an interview with LNP | LancasterOnline. “I love calling them the King of Botanists and the Queen of Lancaster!”

Lind plans to travel to Zenkaikon this weekend, where she will play the role of the Scarlet Witch from the upcoming Marvel movie “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and Sprigatito, a new herbal Pokemon announced for future games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

She says she often hears people struggling with cosplay because they feel there has to be a certain body type or size for the costume to work.

“It doesn’t matter if you look like a character; we cosplay because we love those characters, and what better way to show it is to do it yourself?” Lind says. “Anyone of any age, race, religion, size, gender, etc. can cosplay anyone and make it their own. After all, we are just botanists who do what we like. It should unite us more than anything! “

On the eve of Zenkaikon Lind has prepared five tips, in her own words, for LNP | LancasterOnline readers interested in finding a cosplay that can be worn before the convention this weekend.

1. Make a casual or modern version of the character using the clothes you usually wear.

2. Use pieces of old costumes for Halloween or cosplay, such as wigs.

3. Thrift! You’ll be amazed at how much can be found in savings stores that can be used for cosplays. The dollar tree is also a great place to get cheap materials for making accessories, props, etc.

4. Don’t worry about the little things. Small details are usually not noticeable to others.

5. Cosplay for everyone and depends on your interpretation. It’s perfectly normal to do this as you see fit! Just enjoy it.

Zenkaykon is open Friday through Sunday at the Lancaster County Convention Center. For more information, visit zenkaikon.com.

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