oldest and biggest cosplay conventions

The 21 Oldest Cosplay Conventions in History

Did you know that some cosplay conventions started in the 1970s and are still ongoing every year? In this article, let’s explore the oldest cosplay conventions that are also the biggest in history.

Welcome fellow cosplay enthusiasts and fans, the legacy of comic cons is older than you think. People are celebrating the culture of costume play before some of us are even born.

So, this topic is to bring wonderers’ attention and explore some of the finest and biggest cosplay cons in history.

And the fun part is, these events are still happening every year.

Well then let’s take a journey through time to uncover the origins and evolution of cosplay culture by delving into the 21 oldest cosplay conventions in history.

Exploring the Legacy of the Top 21 Oldest Cosplay Conventions

We’ve found and listed the 21 oldest cosplay conventions by their starting dates. We’ve also included where they happen and other details of the events.

Now, let’s explore these historic cosplay events, which are probably some of the biggest cons ever!

1. World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)

Since its inception in 1939, the World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, has been a cornerstone of science fiction fandom.

World Science Fiction Convention photo

Held annually in various locations around the world, this year The 82nd World Science Fiction Convention, nicknamed Glasgow 2024, is set to take place in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in 2024.

Renowned for its diverse programming, including panels, author signings, art exhibits, and the prestigious Hugo Awards ceremony, along with amazing cosplay shows.

Even NameWorldcon
Established Year1939
LocationsLocation List
Next Venue LocationScottish Event Campus,
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Next Event DateThu, 8 Aug, 2024 – Mon, 12 Aug, 2024

2. San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC)

San Diego Comic-Con, established in 1970, stands as one of the largest and most prestigious pop culture conventions in the world. Held annually in San Diego, California, SDCC attracts over 130,000 attendees from around the globe.

San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2015 photo

Renowned for its star-studded panels, exclusive previews, celebrity guest appearances, and massive exhibit hall, SDCC offers fans an unparalleled experience celebrating all aspects of pop culture, including cosplay.

Despite its big and mighty events, SDCC is one of the oldest cosplay conventions in History.

Even NameSan Diego Comic-Con (SDCC)
Established Year1970
LocationsSan Diego, California
Next Venue Location
Next Event Date

3. Comiket (Comic Market)

Moving to the next, Comiket, short for Comic Market, has been a cornerstone of Japanese otaku culture since its inception in 1975. Held biannually in Tokyo, Japan, Comiket is the world’s largest self-published comic book fair.

With over half a million attendees per event, Comiket offers a vast array of doujinshi (fan-made comics), merchandise, and cosplay art.

Even NameComiket (Comic Market)(Source)
Established Year1975
LocationsTokyo, Japan
Next Venue LocationTokyo Big Sight
Next Event Date11th Aug–12th Aug, 2024

4. Dragon Con

Dragon Con is another oldest cosplay conventions in the USA that was founded in 1987. It is one of the largest and most renowned pop culture conventions in the world too(listed in top source).

Dragon Con is held annually in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Dragon Con draws tens of thousands of attendees from across the globe.

Dragon Con drew over 70,000 attendees in its 2015 event and generated a direct economic impact of $65 million. (Source)

Even NameDragon Con(Source)
Established Year1987
LocationsAtlanta, Georgia, USA
Next Venue LocationAtlanta, Georgia
Next Event DateThu, 29 Aug, 2024 – Mon, 2 Sept, 2024

5. WonderCon

WonderCon is the 5th biggest and oldest Comic book fair in history. This Comic-con is the best place for comic and cosplay lovers in the USA. Established in 1987, WonderCon is one of the premier pop culture conventions in the United States, organized by the same team behind San Diego Comic-Con.

It is held annually in various locations across California, including Anaheim and Los Angeles. According to data, WonderCon attracted more than 60,000 attendees in 2016.

Apart from its grand appearance, WonderCon offers fans an immersive experience celebrating all aspects of Cosplay competitions, and pop culture, including comics, movies, TV shows, gaming, and more.

Even NameWonderCon
Established Year1987
LocationsAnaheim Convention Center, CA
Los Angeles Convention Center
Next Venue LocationAnaheim Convention Center, CA
Next Event DateFri, 29 Mar, 2024 – Sun, 31 Mar, 2024

6. Anime Expo (AX)

Anime Expo, launched in 1992, is North America’s largest anime convention and one of the most significant events in the global anime community. Held annually in Los Angeles, California, the Anime Expo attracted 110,000 attendees in 2018.

Renowned for its expansive exhibit hall, industry panels, premieres, concerts, and cosplay gatherings, Anime Expo offers fans an immersive experience celebrating all aspects of Japanese pop culture.

Even NameAnime Expo (AX)
Established Year1992
LocationsLos Angeles, California, U.S
Next Venue LocationLos Angeles Convention Center, California
Next Event DateThu, 4 Jul, 2024 – Sun, 7 Jul, 2024

7. MegaCon

The Mighty MegaCon is another historic comic cons that was established in 1993. It is one of the largest and most iconic cosplay conventions in the southeastern United States.

Held annually in Orlando, Florida, MegaCon attracted 190,000 attendees from across the country and around the world.

Its star-studded guest lineup, expansive exhibit hall, and diverse programming offer fans all aspects of pop culture, including comics, movies, TV shows, gaming, cosplay, and more.

Even NameMegaCon
Established Year1993
LocationsOrlando, Florida
Next Venue LocationOrange County Convention Center,
Orlando, Florida
Next Event DateFebruary 6, 2025,
Expired(February 1, 2024)

8. Otakon

Otakon, founded in 1994, is one of the longest-running and most prestigious anime conventions in the United States. Originally held in Baltimore, Maryland, Otakon has since expanded to include events in Washington, D.C., and other locations.

Drawing more than 30,000 attendees each year(according to the 2022 data), Otakon is renowned for its diverse programming, including panels, screenings, industry guests, and cosplay events.

Even NameOtakon
Established Year1994
LocationsWashington, D.C.
Next Venue LocationWalter E. Washington Convention Center
Next Event DateFri, 2 Aug, 2024 – Sun, 4 Aug, 2024

9. Anime Central (ACen)

Anime Central, affectionately known as ACen, began in 1998 and has since grown into one of the largest anime conventions in the Midwest.

First held at a US Hotel, It is organized annually in Rosemont, Illinois, USA. ACen attracts 30,000+ attendees from around the world.

Even NameAnime Central (ACen)
Established Year1998
LocationsRosemont, Illinois
Next Venue LocationHyatt Regency O’Hare;
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Next Event DateFri, 17 May, 2024 – Sun, 19 May, 2024

10. Sakura-Con

Sakura-Con, launched in 1998, is a premier anime convention held annually in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Named after the iconic cherry blossoms (“sakura” in Japanese), it celebrates Japanese pop culture with a focus on anime, manga, gaming, and cosplay.

Sakura-Con, one of the oldest Cosplay conventions in history keeps attracting more than 20,000 attendees each year.

Even NameSakura-Con
Established Year1998
LocationsSeattle, Washington
Next Venue LocationWashington State Convention Center
Next Event DateFri, 29 Mar, 2024 – Sun, 31 Mar, 2024

11. Japan Expo

Japan Expo, inaugurated in 1999, stands as one of the largest and most influential celebrations of Japanese comic and cosplay culture.

This expo is held annually in Paris, France attracting 252,510 attendees according to 2019 data.

Also, its expansive exhibition halls, interactive workshops, live performances, and special guest appearances are notable.

Even NameJapan Expo Paris 2024
Established Year1999
LocationsVillepinte, Paris
Next Venue LocationNord Villepinte Exhibition Center
Next Event DateThu, 11 Jul, 2024 – Sun, 14 Jul, 2024

12. AnimeCon (Netherlands)

Another very old European cosplay convention, AnimeCon was established in 1999. AnimeCon is one of the oldest and largest anime conventions in Europe.

Held annually in the Netherlands, AnimeCon attracts thousands of attendees from across the continent.

Even NameAnimeCon (Netherlands)
Established Year1999
LocationsMany(Check Wiki)
Next Venue LocationDe Broodfabriek Expo
Next Event DateFri, 7 Jun, 2024 – Sun, 9 Jun, 2024

13. ColossalCon

ColossalCon, inaugurated in 2002, stands as one of the premier anime and gaming conventions in the United States.

Held annually in Sandusky, Ohio, at the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, ColossalCon offers its nearly 20,000 attendees a unique experience each year.

Even NameColossalCon(Source)
Established Year2002
LocationsSandusky, Ohio
Next Venue LocationKalahari Resorts & Conventions
Next Event DateThu, 30 May, 2024 – Mon, 3 Jun, 2024

14. MCM Comic Con

MCM Comic Con is more than 20 years old and is the 15th oldest cosplay con in this list. It was established in 2002 and is also one of the largest pop culture conventions in the United Kingdom.

Held multiple times throughout the year in cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Scotland, MCM Comic Con attracts a diverse audience of fans from all corners of the country.

Even NameMCM Comic Con
Established Year2002
LocationsOne Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London
Docklands, London
Next Venue LocationExCeL London
Next Event DateFri, 24 May – Sun, 26 May, 2024


Established back in 2002, Comic Fiesta has become the pinnacle of Malaysia’s anime, manga, and pop culture scene.

Every year, Kuala Lumpur transforms into a bustling hub as tens of thousands of fans flock to this iconic convention.

Last year, Comic Fiesta attracted 70,000 people to its event.

Established Year2002
Next Venue LocationKL Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Next Event DateDecember 2024

16. Comic Con International: San Francisco (SFCC)

Comic Con International: San Francisco, commonly referred to as SFCC, was first held in 2003 and quickly became one of the premier pop culture conventions on the West Coast of the United States.

While Comic-Con International (CCI) is best known for its flagship event in San Diego. SFCC served as an extension of the brand, bringing a whooping 135,000 attendees in 2022.

Even NameComic Con International: San Francisco
Established Year2003
LocationsAnaheim, California
Next Event DateMARCH 29-31, 2024

17. PAX (Penny Arcade Expo)

PAX, short for Penny Arcade Expo, was first held in 2004 in Bellevue, Washington, USA. Since then, it has grown into a series of gaming festivals held annually in various cities across North America, including Seattle, Boston, and San Antonio, as well as in Australia.

PAX is renowned for its focus on gaming culture in all its forms, including video games, tabletop games, and esports.

Even NamePAX (Website)
(Penny Arcade Expo)
Established Year2004
Next Venue Location
Next Event DateMarch 21–24, 2024

18. Youmacon

Youmacon is another oldest comic cons founded in 2005. It has become one of the premier anime and gaming conventions in the Midwest of the United States.

Held annually in Detroit, Michigan, Youmacon brings together thousands of attendees for a weekend of anime, gaming, cosplay, and pop culture festivities.

Even NameYoumacon
Established Year2005
LocationsDetroit, Michigan
Next Venue LocationHuntington Place
Next Event DateOctober 31st – November 3rd, 2024

19. New York Comic Con (NYCC)

With a massive 200,000 attendees in 2022, New York Comic Con(NYCC) is another one of the biggest cosplay conventions in history. Inaugurated in 2006, stands as one of the oldest and most prestigious pop culture conventions on the East Coast of the United States.

Held annually in New York City, NYCC attracts a massive audience of fans, celebrities, and industry professionals from across the globe.

Even NameNew York Comic Con
Established Year2006
LocationsNew York City, New York
Next Venue LocationJacob K. Javits Convention Center
Next Event DateThu, 17 Oct– Sun, 20 Oct, 2024

20. Anime Matsuri

Anime Matsuri, founded in 2007, is one of the oldest anime conventions in the Southern United States. Taking place annually in Houston, Texas, Anime Matsuri attracts a diverse audience of anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture enthusiasts.

Known for its extravagant cosplay showcases, industry panels, musical performances, and interactive exhibits, Anime Matsuri offers attendees a vibrant and immersive experience.

Even NameAnime Matsuri
Established Year2007
Next Venue Location
Next Event Date

21. Gamescon

The mighty Gamescon is one of the world’s largest gaming conventions receiving more than 320,000 attendees in 2023. Gamescon debuted in 2009 and is held annually in Cologne, Germany.

It serves as a hub for gamers, developers, and industry professionals alike. With sprawling exhibition halls showcasing the latest video games, cutting-edge technology, and futuristic cosplays.

Even NameGamescon
Established Year2009
LocationsCologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Next Venue LocationKoelnmesse
Next Event DateWed, 21 Aug– Sun, 25 Aug, 2024

Read: The Top Cosplay Trends of the Year

Costume play has a very rich history. Whether it is a Comic-con, an Anime event, or a cosplay convention, enthusiasts have been celebrating their art through cosplay from the 80’s. It is just the way the celebration has changed to bigger and better aspects.

In this blog, we have listed the oldest cosplay cons in history. I hope our fellow readers will take an interest in learning about them.

From the pioneering days of the World Science Fiction Convention to the global phenomenon of events like Comic-Con International: San Diego and Anime Expo, these gatherings have provided fans with opportunities to connect, celebrate their passions, and indulge in their favorite hobbies for decades.

I hope you find this post helpful. Share with friends and Visit Costume PlayHub for more.

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