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‘Return of the Jedi’ costumes

UPDATE: This event has been postponed to June 13 due to coronavirus concerns.

Earlier: IconiCon is the largest free event locally for fans of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, anime and more, and it’s coming back to Suffolk this March for its fifth year of costumed fun.

IconiCon was originally scheduled March 28 at the North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road, but has been postponed. The Suffolk Public Library launched this fandom-driven event in 2016, and it’s since become a fan-favorite in Hampton Roads.

Regulars and new attendees each year enjoy the costumes, vendors and the wild array of fun activities.

Chesapeake Concessions and La Cucina di Sophia of Virginia Beach will sell food on-site throughout IconiCon. There will also be more than 30 different vendors selling items at the event, including local comic artists, crafters, authors and other creative enterprises.

“There’s a lot of talented people in the area that bring a lot of really cool stuff,” said Cory Bland, youth and family services coordinator for Suffolk Public Library. “It’s a really neat experience.”

The Suffolk Public Library has arranged for some new additions to the event this year, alongside popular attractions like the costume and art contests, panels and video game tournament.

This year, there will be an all-day “Baby Yoda” scavenger hunt for fans of the adorable green Force-user from “The Mandalorian.” Participants of all ages will search the North Suffolk Library for images of “the Child,” and mark each image off their list to receive “Star Wars”-themed prizes.

Children and their families will have two opportunities to attend fantasy-themed storytime sessions during the event, first at 11 a.m. and then at 2 p.m. There will also be family-friendly Dungeons and Dragons at noon for ages 5 to 13.

Other kid-friendly activities will include silhouette painting, DIY “Magic the Gathering” cards, “Dr. Who” masks, and more fun arts and crafts. Plus, there will be karaoke for IconiCon attendees of all ages, singing songs from some of their favorite movies and shows upon request.

Star Wars fans will enjoy interacting with members of the Rebel Legion and the 501st Legion. Both of these fan-driven organizations pride themselves on screen-accurate costumes from the Star Wars universe. The Rebel Legion is dressed just like the Rebel Alliance from the films, while the 501st Legion wears villain costumes, like Stormtroopers, bounty hunters and Sith Lords.

“We have a balance of the Force,” said Angie Sumner, Suffolk Public Library marketing and community relations coordinator.

New additions this year include the Hampton Roads LEGO User Group and the Hampton Roads Droid Builders, and the Boy Scouts will also be on site with camping-themed activities.

The lineup of scheduled events at IconiCon this year starts with the Cosplay Café, which will take place at 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m.

This activity is a twist on the Maid Cafés traditionally found in Japanese culture, and servers will be dressed in the cosplay of their choice instead of maid costumes. Participants will also get to decorate mini-desserts and enjoy other light refreshments. Tickets are free and will be available at the IconiCon welcome table on a first-come, first-served basis.

There will be four different panels at IconiCon this year geared for teens and adults, but younger attendees are also welcome.

The panels start with Women in Fandom at 11 a.m. This will be followed by the Writing and Self-Publishing Panel at noon, and Flash Panels — seven-minute lightning round talks, with people talking about their favorite fandoms — at 2 p.m. The final panel will be a “Captain America Origin Talk” at 3 p.m., led by Brian Puaca, a professor at Christopher Newport University.

Those looking to win some prizes this year can enter into the different IconiCon competitions that will be held throughout the day. In the meantime, they can also get started on their submissions for the library’s annual “Attack of the Fan Art Contest.”

The four categories for this year’s art contest are kids, tweens, teens, and adult, with winners from each category and also a fan-favorite entry. Entries for the art contest are now being accepted at any Suffolk Public Library location through March 18. Art submission details can be found online.

The art contest winners will be announced at the event at 3 p.m., during a break in the Cosplay Contest.

The Cosplay Contest will be split into two categories this year. Children ages 0 to 12 will compete in the Kid’s Cosplay Contest at 1 p.m., followed by teens and adults at 3 p.m.  Entry forms will be available at the welcome table on the day of the event, and more information about acceptable props can be found online.

Gamers at IconiCon can compete in the all-ages Super Smash Bros. tournament on the Nintendo Switch. The tournament will be held at 1 p.m. Competitors should arrive 15 minutes early to sign up on a first-come, first-served basis. The winner of the tournament will receive a $50 gift card to Oldskool Video Games in Suffolk, located at 1208 N. Main St.

There will also be a trivia contest at 3 p.m. that will test competitors’ knowledge with questions that are rich in pop culture, and with a themed prize on the line.

Parking will be available at the North Suffolk Library, and there will be a shuttle service for satellite parking at Creekside Elementary School down the road. The shuttle will run at the top of every hour, beginning at 11 a.m.

For more information on the contests, event schedule and more, visit suffolklibrary.wixsite.com/iconicon and the “IconiCon 2020” Facebook page.