Orange County School of the Arts

Fandom Faire: A high school’s Comic-Con

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Students admiring The Fault In Our Stars Fandom booth. Courtesy of Brooke Lee

[Video by Alexis Chung]

For a zany arts school that hosts block parties practically every other lunch, the wild idea of Fandom Faire was no big deal to bring to life. OCSA often has many events taking place on the school’s closed-off 10th Street, where the DJ blares music and dance circles are formed. 2015 marked the rise of a new event called Fandom Faire, which hopefully will become a tradition in the years to follow.

Fandom Faire started as a what-if on a car ride with my friends. What if there was a Comic-Con-esque event at OCSA during lunch? What if students had the chance for a second Halloween, to cosplay to their hearts’ desire? What if there were booths that had games, trivia, food, and face paint? And in that night of brainstorming, Fandom Faire was born.

First, we sent applications out. Students applied to represent their fandom, and it was clear from the onset that the event would be a success. Their applications already showcased their uncontainable excitement and passion. There were four meetings in the months leading up to Fandom Faire, and before we knew it, the day arrived.

Crowds start to arrive on 10th street. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Crowds start to arrive on 10th street. Courtesy of Brooke Lee

Booths were rolled out on 10th St. Parents even came out to help. Cosplayers populated the Faire. The Anime fandom had a tablecloth covered in pictures of characters. The Fault in Our Stars fandom face painted infinity signs and Studio Ghibli face painted Princess Mononoke warpaint designs. Fandoms like Marvel, Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and Terminator all had trivia games. Harry Potter and Legend of Zelda both had beanbag tosses that fit their respective fandom themes. The Pokemon fandom even set up the school’s Chromebooks for an epic online battle.

Jake Tran, grade 11, organized the Marvel booth with Huxley Berg, grade 9. Huxley cosplayed a broken Ultron, and Jake wore Matt Murdock’s horns. The two joined Fandom Faire in hopes of sharing the richness of the Marvel Universe with fellow students.

“I hoped that I could convince Marvel moviegoers at OCSA to look into the comics as well. After all, that’s where all these stories started,” said Jake. “My favorite part of Fandom Faire was just seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they passed by the Marvel booth or stopped to take a gander at what there was to offer. Seeing the excitement on fans’ faces and their loud squeals when they saw pictures of their favorite characters or silly questions was a real treat.”

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Huxley Berg dressed as a broken Ultron. Courtesy of Cassandra Hsiao

Many fans who organized booths said the best part of Fandom Faire was the interactive aspect, discussing favorite ships and interesting fun facts. Fandom Faire gave a chance for students to talk to strangers, and in that moment, become united by a common love of characters.

“When I was walking around before the crowd arrived I was amazed by the booths,” said eighth grader Brooke Morgenstern, who was part of the Harry Potter booth. “It was great seeing how many people came to experience the fun. It gives me hope that all ‘nerds’ everywhere have a chance to find a group of friends.”

Fans discussing Fandoms. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Fans discussing Fandoms. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
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Cassandra Hsiao in Honey Lemon cosplay with AP World History teacher Mr. Striegl, one of the teacher judges of Fandom Faire. Courtesy of Brooke Lee

A panel of teacher judges walked around 10th St. to judge which fandom deserved the “Best Booth” award. It was a hard decision to make, as each booth was phenomenal in its own right, but ultimately, Legend of Zelda was selected as the winner. With Blue Fairy cakepops, an interactive carnival game, a scavenger hunt, trivia, and an awesome Link cosplayer, the Zelda fandom was awarded the bragging rights of Best Booth—at least, up until next year’s Fandom Faire.

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Legend of Zelda booth. Courtesy of Brooke Lee

Tenth grader Rachel Yuan, one of the event-goers, summed up Fandom Faire perfectly.

“Fandom Faire showed the diversity and passion of OCSA students,” she said. “I think it’s great that OCSA students’ creativity and passion can bring them together and introduce them to new people in a different way than we’re used to, which is through the arts.”

Steven Universe Booth with cosplayer Kat Phan. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Steven Universe Booth with cosplayer Kat Phan. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Cosplayers Renee Su and Gaby Orlando at Fandom Faire. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Cosplayers Renee Su and Gaby Orlando at Fandom Faire. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Cosplayer Cassandra Hsiao as Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6 on 10th Street. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Cosplayer Cassandra Hsiao as Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6 on 10th Street. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Pokemon Cosplayers Chris Liu and Isabelle Townley-Smith. Courtesy of Brooke Lee
Pokemon Cosplayers Chris Liu and Isabelle Townley-Smith. Courtesy of Brooke Lee