By day, Eric Dowdle works as an internet and phone repair man in Louisville.

This weekend, however, Dowdle donned his costume and became Trevor Belmont, a character from the netflix show "Castlevania."

Dowdle was just one of the attendees at the opening day of the 2019 "OMG!con" at the Owensboro Convention Center.

Held in Owensboro annually since 2014, OMG!con is a nonprofit "anime and gaming convention."

"(To me) It's an escape from the every day," Dowdle said.

Dowdle was just one of many guests to the convention, who arrive dressed up as their favorite characters from video games and anime series.

This practice is known as costumed play, or "cosplay."

Another guest at OMG!con's first day was Sean Whittinghill of Bowling Green.

"I like the ability to step into a character," Whittinghill said.

Whittinghill came dressed as the character Solaire form the video game "Dark Souls."

Dave Kirk, destination management director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that the CVB is expecting a large economic gain from OMG!con.

"We're expecting anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000," Kirk said.

Kirk added that both the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn next to the convention center are nearly completely booked, but space is available further away from the convention center.

"I was here last year, and the lines (to get into the convention center) are longer," he said.

Kirk said that the guests at the event have been different from previous years.

"I am seeing a lot more families here with their kids," Kirk said. "That's what really makes this event unique."

OMG!con originally began in Paducah in 2006.

According to OMG!con's website, the event made the move from Paducah to Owensboro about five years ago.

"The founders and the staff for the convention decided that they could better serve attendees and provide the fun, accepting atmosphere to more people by moving out of Paducah and to Owensboro," according to the website.

The 13th annual "OMG!con" opened Friday at the Owensboro Convention Center and will run through Sunday.

OMG!con is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Several special guests will be appearing at the show, including YouTube celebrity Nintendrew, along with voice actor Greg Ayres and director Michael Sinterniklaas.

For more information on OMG!con, visit www.omgcon.com. For a list of events, visit www.omgcon.com/schedule.

Jack Dobbs, 270-691-7360, jdobbs@messenger-inquirer.com

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