The show must go on: MegaCon Orlando moves forward as COVID-19 cases rise

Fan event begins Aug. 12 at Orange County Convention Center

ORLANDO, Fla. – Comic fans and cosplayers from across the state are preparing to meet at MegaCon Orlando, which begins Thursday.

The ultimate four-day event at the Orange County Convention Center allows guests to get photos and autographs from celebrities of TV shows, movies and comics.

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Guests also get the chance to attend family-friendly activities, shopping, workshops, enhanced anime programming, cosplay contests and other interactive attractions.

“We’re thrilled to welcome our fans back to MEGACON Orlando this summer — a playground for fans of comics, sci-fi, gaming and more — for an impressive weekend of programming, celebrity appearances and interactive activities,” said FAN EXPO HQ Vice President Andrew Moyes. “From cast reunions and celebrity meet-and-greets, to the innovative Artist Alley and exciting cosplay contests, MEGACON Orlando 2021 will be a high-energy weekend for fans of all ages.”

MEGACON Orlando (Megacon)

This year’s event will be the first MegaCon in Central Florida in more than a year. The 2020 event was canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers tried moving the event to future dates but were forced to put it on hold amid the rise in coronavirus cases.

Event leaders stressed they have a health and safety plan in place for the 2021 event, which includes mandatory wearing of masks while indoors and capacity limitations.

“We’ve been very upfront and clear on our website with those guidelines, we’re hopeful that with those sort of safety protocols in place well all be able to celebrate our pop culture safely,” Moyes said.

“The Orange County Convention Center is a wonderful partner and host venue and we’re collaborating to ensure a safe experience for all attendees,” Moyes added.

A number of other guests will be attending MegaCon, including “Full House” cast members Bob Saget, John Stamos and Dave Coulier; “Arrow” star Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen / Green Arrow), “Star Trek” stars William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) and George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), Ryan Hurst (Harry “Opie” Winston) of “Sons of Anarchy;” and Christopher Eccleston, of the “Dr. Who” series.

Over the past several weeks, some fans have been left disappointed as some of the celebrities scheduled to attend have pulled out due to scheduling conflicts or personal reasons. On Wednesday, MegaCon announced on Twitter that actor Jon Lovitz was unable to attend the event.

He joins other celebrities, including “The Mummy” star Brendan Fraser and “The Office” stars Kate Flannery and Oscar Nuñez.

Any guest who has purchased a ticket to meet a talent who cancels can get a refund.

Comic fans can meet legendary artist George Pérez in his last appearance before retirement. Guests can also get to know their favorite artists and writers, including Jason Fabok (Batman, Detective Comics, and Justice League), Greg Capullo (Quasar, X-Force, Angela, Spawn and Batman) and many others.

Megacon Orlando (Megacon)

MEGACON Orlando is the Southeast’s largest comic, sci-fi, horror, anime and gaming convention.

In 2019, MEGACON organizers said they expected to welcome 100,000 people to the event.

The event is expected to not only be big for the Orange County Convention Center, but also for local area businesses. Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said the convention has brought millions of dollars into the county.

Just last week, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said at least four conferences or conventions had already canceled their dates at the Orange County Convention Center due to other conflicts or concerns about the coronavirus. Mayor Jerry Demings said the cancelations have resulted in a $43.9 million economic impact.

“It (the local economy) was getting to be really good until the latest outbreak of COVID coming from the delta variant,” Diamond said. “We need to get it under control, you know, with whatever it takes. Until we’re all healthy, our economy is not gonna be healthy.”

MEGACON Orlando single-day tickets and limited four-day passes are still available for purchase.

Click here for a complete list of programming, guest announcements and more information.

The fan event runs through Sunday.

About the Authors:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.