COSPLAY RULES & AWARDS
At FandomFest, we embrace all things nerdy; and cosplay is about as nerdy as it gets! Got an original design? Wear it! Got a favorite fandom? Let your nerdy threads fly! Got a character you love? Come as them!
All attendees must wear clothes. This is a family friendly event and nudity will not be allowed; please observe the usual clothing conventions if not in costume.
No costume is considered no costume. Any and all costumes must be fully complete/secured; and must cover the waist and chest area (think public pool setting). We know that wardrobe malfunctions may happen, so please minimize them should they occur.
Shoes are required. No skates (with exception to sneaker-skates) or skateboards are allowed.
Anything promoting pedophilia or distasteful messages is strictly prohibited.
Photos are welcome! Every now and then, you might get stopped by another attendee if you’re in costume and it’s really neat! Please do not stop for photos in crowded hallways or block any doors, exits, aisles or ramps.
Play-fighting/Roughhousing is not allowed on the premises. Utilizing weapons and props in a potentially harmful manner is also prohibited at all times. We value the safety of all of our guests, so please… don’t hit anyone with a giant foam sword. Speaking of weapons…
All weapons and oversized props must be checked by Fandomfest Staff. Please see a Fandomfest staff member to have the weapon peace-bonded or trigger-locked. This shows that you will abide by the rules and policies of the venue as well as Fandomfest.
No live steel is permitted at all. NO LIVE STEEL is permitted at all. Anything that has a sharp edge (swords, knives, cane-swords, scythes, shuriken, etc.) is strictly prohibited. All handled weapons must be made of foam, wood, cardboard, resin, or hard non-sharpened plastic; and may not be used in any threatening manner.
No real or stun guns are permitted at all. All airsoft/water guns must be checked with Fandomfest staff, must not be loaded (cartridge removed) and have an orange tip.
No explosives. Seriously.
Weapons should not be used in any staged combat or play-fighting.
2:00 pm - 4:45 pm
Setup/ Seating/ Lineup
5:30 pm – 6:00 pm
Our contest this year has been re-tooled to give the best possible experience, exposure, and excitement for cosplayers and costume designers alike. This year’s competition will be split into five different categories, which are:
Contestant is brand new to cosplay, has never entered a competition before, and has less than 2 awards for craftsmanship or skits from a nationally recognized contest.
Contestant has entered competition and earned no more than 2 awards for craftsmanship or skits from a nationally recognized contest, shows proficiency in a particular form of work (armor, sewing, creative design, etc.) or has performed on stage as a model.
Contestant shows advanced proficiency in costume design and craftsmanship, has earned more than 4 awards, shows advanced proficiency in a particular form of work (armor, sewing, creative design, etc.) and choreographed their own performances on stage. They have won a previous Fandom Fest Competition.
Contestant has experience and proficiency in sewing/serging; and their costume is primarily made up of fabric/cloth. Extensive detail will be considered in this niche category designed for the best of tailors and seamstresses.
For costumes that are large and in charge. This category is for costumes that are taller than 7’ (213 cm) and wider than 4’ (122 cm). If it has trouble fitting through a doorway, is bulky and cumbersome enough to require a handler, or just has trouble with moving parts in general, this is the category for you.
Each category is limited to 20 entrants (5 for the obnoxiously large and needlework categories). At our discretion, the cap may be modified. Walk-ons are allowed on a first-come, first-serve basis; and as such will not be counted for awards. Best of each category will be awarded, with an additional “MC’s choice” that is awarded to anyone as the host sees fit. Separate judges awards may also be considered.
Registration and Pre-Judging is required for awards. Registration will be open Friday and Saturday before the contest. All contestants will be required to fill out a participation form that certifies that they’re entering the costume competition for national recognition and promotional purposes. DUOs ARE permitted, but will be counted as one entry. You will be required to fill out a form for the pair. Prizes will be split evenly should a duo place in a category. Forms will be available both online and at the cosplay tables for contestants to complete before pre-judging. You can turn them back in to us at the tables ahead of time or keep them with you until your category is being pulled in for its time slot, but it is crucial that you have this so you're not left at a disadvantage. We will give you a number as you sign up for better organization. Please be at prejudging during your groups time frame.
2:00 PM TO 2:25 PM
2:25 PM TO 2:45 PM
2:45 PM TO 3:15 PM
3:15 PM TO 3:45 PM
3:45 PM TO 4:45 PM
Judges will ask questions about your costume. Bring a reference picture for the character you are attempting to portray and be prepared to discuss every intricacy of your costume. Please be detailed and honest about anything asked (i.e. “is this a bought or closet cosplay?”, “how was this prop made?”) as all judges will ask and inspect all aspects of your costume. After all costumes are considered, each judge will deliberate for awards in each category; and each judge reserves the right to move you into another category if appropriate skill is demonstrated.
Absolutely no acrobatics or staged combat on stage. Self-explanatory.
Commissioned costumes are not allowed. If the entrant is wearing a design from the original creator, the creator/designer will receive the award, not the model.
80% of the costume must be heavily modified existing parts or made from scratch. If below this threshold, costume may not be considered for an award.
No direct interaction with the audience! No touching!
No projectiles. Flashpots, explosive devices, glitter/confetti bombs (or glitter/confetti entirely), or similar items are not allowed during presentation on stage as it conforms with the aforementioned weapons policy.
Fandomfest Staff are not allowed to participate in competition.
Prizes will be given for Best and Runner-Up in each category, as well as Best-In-Show. And an additional “MC’s Choice” that is awarded to anyone as the host sees fit. Separate “Judge’s Choice” awards may also be considered.
Kid’s Cosplay Competition (Ages 1 - 14)
The Kids Contest will be start Sunday at 1 pm.
Registration forms will be available all weekend at the cosplay tables up until 12:30 pm Sunday afternoon. There will be no pre-judging for the kid’s division.
Age groups are as follows: 5 and under, 6 – 10, 11 – 14.
Prizes will be given for Best and Runner-Up in each division. Prizes TBA.
Failure to comply with any of these rules may result in removal from the convention without refund; and all disputes are taken on a case-by-case basis.