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Cosplayers mingle with First Friday art walkers

July 1, 2016 Updated: July 1, 2016 at 4:15 am
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Cosplayers will meet in Acacia Park Friday for First Friday art walk. Courtesy.

6 p.m. Friday art walk, meet in Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave., free; 8 p.m. outdoor movie ("The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2") at The Antlers hotel, 4 S. Cascade Ave., free; 629-7924, galaxyfest.org

If you see a "Star Wars" Wookiee, a Disney princess and a zombie perusing downtown art galleries Friday night, you haven't accidentally slipped into an alternate universe - it's just GalaxyFest's Cosplay Art Walk and Movie Event.

Cosplay and art will unite during July's First Friday art walk.

Cosplayers, those folks who love to dress up as a character from a movie, book or video game, often from the Japanese genres of manga and anime, will gather with other art lovers Friday in Acacia Park for the Art on the Streets public launch party, then wander through Tejon Street's art galleries before meeting up at The Antlers for the hotel's free outdoor summer movie series. Friday's movie is "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2."

And if you happen to notice a particularly timid Capt. James T. Kirk from "Star Trek" or a cowering Dr. Who character, be kind - getting out of the house in those costumes can be nerve-racking for first-timers.

"I tell them not to be scared," says Lynda Cink, a managing partner of GalaxyFest, the multigenre pop culture convention held in February and the host of Friday's cosplay event. "I tell them to find a favorite character they love, and once they find the group and realize everybody is open and accepting of it, they relax. The first time is the hardest."

GalaxyFest and other cosplay events attract all sorts of costumed characters, including the furry contingent - people who wear furry animal costumes.

"I've always loved dressing up, and to be with other people who love to do it is just fun," says Cink, who wore a "Star Wars" Jedi costume to one of the first two cosplay art walks this year.

GalaxyFest was founded as a way to provide more events for local cosplayers and to introduce the public to the costumed community.

"It's family-friendly, open-minded, and people are less judgmental," Cink says. "Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, it's a great way to go out and be yourself and have fun. For those who are uncomfortable and don't have an outlet, this is an accepting community."

JENNIFER MULSON, THE GAZETTE, 636-0270, JEN.MULSON@GAZETTE.COM

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