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Phoenix Fan Fusion returns after hiatus during pandemic

Pop culture lovers will be dressing up and visiting downtown Phoenix this weekend for the Phoenix Fan Fusion event.

PHOENIX — After two years of pandemic-related cancellations, Phoenix Fan Fusion is back.

Thousands of convention-goers lined up in downtown Phoenix Friday morning to celebrate their inner geek.

“It’s nice to see so many people here all at once,” said Lilly Watson as she waited in line.

“I think I am most excited to see all the people,” said Serengeti Cox-Rodriguez. “I love looking at everyone’s creativity. I’m also excited to just be back and experience how the community interacts.”

For the staff at Phoenix Fan Fusion, Friday was a big deal.

“It’s just fantastic,” said Kristin Rowan, the public relations director for Phoenix Fan Fusion. “It’s wonderful to be back here at the Convention Center; we’re just loving it.”

As with past Fan Fusions, fans will have the opportunity to meet and greet celebrities such as Star Trek’s Anthony Rapp, Kate Mulgrew, and Doug Jones.

Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in Disney’s "The Little Mermaid," Judy Kuhn, the voice of Pocahontas in two Disney films, and artists such as Bart Sears and Howard Mackie will also be in attendance. 

Martial artist and actor Chuck Norris will make an appearance on Saturday.

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“It’s like Halloween,” said Bella Mazzoli. “It’s really fun seeing other people’s costumes, hanging out, and making friends.”

Mazzoli, who is now in middle school, has been coming to Fan Fusion all her life.

“I have baby pictures of me at the convention,” Mazzoli said.

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“They’ve got everything that a geek or someone who is into movies and television shows, into cartoons and comics, it’s all here,” said Matt Hinds of the geek-inspired Facebook group, Blue Ribbon Army. 

“Not having been here for three years, there’s an appetite for being amongst your fellow people -- seeing all the exciting stuff,” Hinds added.

To attend Fan Fusion, a membership must be purchased online. 

Kristin Rowan said a QR code will be sent to the member, which will be used to gain access to Fan Fusion. 

Firearms or any prop that resembles a firearm or explosive device will not be admitted into the Convention Center. Real swords will also be banned from the convention. There is no clear bag policy, however,  and all bags will be checked by security.

Fan Fusion runs Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30, and Sunday from 10:30 to 5:00 p.m.

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