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Blerdcon, celebrating Black nerd culture, returns to Arlington today

A celebration of anime, gaming, comic, sci-fi and popular culture for people of all background is back at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Crystal City starting today (Friday).

The convention, BlerDCon, is being held at 2799 Richmond Highway and is set to run through Sunday. Its first event kicked off at 10 a.m. this morning.

All participants need to be vaccinated and masked while indoors, according to the convention’s website.

The theme for the convention this year is “Homecomin’.” BlerDCon expects that 3,000-4,000 participants — many in costume — will be joining, according to its website.

A weekend pass for the convention costs $65 and is still open for purchase. Registration for Friday and Saturday is open between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., while the hours will end at 5 p.m. on the last day of the convention.

Apart from celebrating Blerd — Black nerd — culture, the convention this year also celebrates its “connection with LGBTQ, the disabled, POCs and the international community,” according to its website.

The inclusive convention, which was also held in Crystal City last year, has already attracted some unintentional attention given current fears about gun violence and the propensity for some cosplaying attendees to also carry fake weapons.

Police were called to the McDonald’s along Route 1 around 12:45 p.m. today for a report, relayed via Alexandria’s 911 dispatch center, about a man seen crossing the road near the restaurant with a large gun, according to scanner traffic.

An Arlington officer, recognizing that the convention was taking place nearby, quickly radioed that the sighting might be related to BlerDCon. There were no reports of anyone being stopped by police, but there was some confusion on the ACPD dispatch channel about what exactly BlerDCon was.

“Black nerds,” an officer responded. “It’s like Comic-Con.”

During the weekend convention, different events are set to be held, including RPG games, comedy shows, cosplay contests and different panels. The first three panels of the convention are on topics such as representation in comics and a Kpop dance challenge, according to a tweet.

Comedian Orlando Jones is set to the convention’s celebrity guest.

BlerDCon is not the only subculture convention that regularly comes to Crystal City. Earlier this year the “furry” convention Fur the More was again held at the Hyatt Regency.

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