Minnesota’s annual fandom party is a hotbed of neat Cosplay, and we’ve got the proof right here.

Convention season is in full swing, and this weekend sees the 16th annual CONvergence Convention, dedicated to speculative fiction, Scifi and general fandom, held in Bloomington, Minnesota during the first weekend in July. Every year the event chooses a specific theme, with panels, guests and events built around it, and the whole of the convention decorated accordingly.

The largest such convention in the upper Midwest, it’s friendly space for dense discussion of the nerdly arts, hashing out the issues of the day, and of course, for cosplay. The great thing about it is that it’s for fans, by fans, and so the emphasis is on the fun of costuming, a great reminder that good costumes don’t have to come from the pros.

I wasn’t able to go, but luckily, Jamie Bernstein is on the scene all weekend, and she’ll be sending back cosplay photos for the rest of us to pore over throughout the weekend. Last night was the convention’s start, and so it is that we bring you some of the best cosplay seen on opening night. Enjoy.

First up, here’s a cosplayer named Lyra as steampunk Chell from Portal.

All photos and some commentary by Jamie Bernstein for The Escapist. Follow her on Twitter.

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Soul Eater’s Professor Stein and Spirit (played by Kaylee and Jeff) look ready for action, or maybe some drinks.

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Katie and Kalyn as Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are definitely convincing as Gotham City’s criminal BFFs. In fact, I’ll go even further: they look like friends forever.

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Science will ultimately prove that the Tom Baker is by far the definitive Doctor*, not only among people who watch Doctor Who, but also with people in the US who have never watched Doctor Who, and of course, scarf enthusiasts. Here’s Lindsay as The Doctor, with K9 in tow. (She had jelly babies in the bag which she was offering to everyone, so super hi five for verisimilitude).

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*Of course, if Peter Capaldi is allowed to play The Doctor as What If Malcolm Tucker was a Time Lord, then all bets are off.

Here’s Jeff Scalise as Jack Sparrow (off season). The beard is real, and the cool thing is that he shaved it off after the festivities last night, because he’s going to cosplay as Han Solo for the rest of the convention. Follow him on Twitter.

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Here… is… Sean McGee… asAdmiralKirk.

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This Captain Kenway, played by a cosplayer named Medik, really shows how ridiculous it is for one person to actually be carrying around the number of weapons a member of the Assassin’s Guild tends to use. Impressive.

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Here’s Kari Newman and Nate Huber as a steampunk couple.

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These. Are. SPARTANS!!!!! Here’s Niveus, Mizzle, and Triticus getting ready to come home with their shields, or on them.

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Here’s Tara Reich, along with brothers Damon Thrift and Yancey Thrift as Megan from My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite. These three are members of charity group Minnesota Super Heroes United, who work cheering up sick children in hospitals. Find out more about their good work on the group’s official Facebook page.

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And finally, here are (from left to right) Ann, Riley, and Sam as Navi, Link and Zelda.

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Tune back in tomorrow for our Day 2 cosplay gallery!

Behold, Shovel Knight’s “Butt Mode”

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