If you see people roaming downtown Dover with lightsabers this weekend, it's not a Jedi mind trick.

If you see people roaming downtown Dover with lightsabers this weekend, it’s not a Jedi mind trick.

To build more excitement for the third annual Dover Comic Con, there will be fun pre-day events, including a screening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at the Schwartz Center for the Arts from 7-9:15 p.m. on Friday.

“There are just a lot of Comic Con fans who are Star Wars folks and we’re encouraging costuming and props because it fits thematically with Comic Con,” said Sydney Arzt, executive director for the Schwartz. “I think it’s a great way to express creativity.”

Other pre-Con events on Friday include a comic-inspired art exhibit at the Dover Art League from 5-8 p.m.

A Comic Con block party will feature the Delaware Ghostbusters at Loockerman Plaza from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

“They’ll come with the Ecto-1 with the sirens blaring and probably the theme song, too,” said Kerri Hollyday, Comic Con co-organizer and library assistant for Dover Public Library, which is spearheading the event.

The night before Comic Con will end in a bang with fireworks at Legislative Hall at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday festivities

Dover Comic Con officially kicks off its third Comic Con Saturday.

Activities will be spread out across downtown at locations including Leg Hall, Loockerman Plaza, Dover Public Library, Biggs Museum of American Art and the Old State House.

More than 100 artists and exhibitors will be at the Library with nifty wares for sale. Handfuls of food vendors will be lined up on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Expect to see a bigger and badder Comic Con with 10,000 cosplayers anticipated to storm the Capital City in their finest hero and villain costumes. More than 7,000 revelers came last year.

“We started this event for our community but we also have people coming in from outside of Kent County and even outside the state,” Hollyday said. “We’re looking forward to showing them what we have here.”

Costume contests

Two of the most popular attractions are the costume contests for kids (ages 1-5 and 6-12) and adults (ages 13 or older).

Registration for both events will be at the main stage by Loockerman and Bradford streets. Kids’ registration will be held from 10-11 a.m. Their contest takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Registration for adults will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. Their contest begins from 1 to 2 p.m., for ages 13-19. The contest for ages 20 or older runs from 2-3 p.m.

Two new panels

Panel discussions, held at the Biggs and Library, will cover interesting topics ranging from how to create your comics to how to make homemade costumes.

New this year will be the panel on Learning Engineering Through Cosplay, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Library.

Melissa Jurist, academic manager for the University of Delaware’s K-12 engineering outreach program, will discuss how making costumes and blending makeup involves engineering.

She’ll also demonstrate how to create a simple craft using Worbla, a popular thermoplastic cosplayers use to create costumes.

“My hope is that some parents will come and will think about how to extend STEM conversations with their children,” Jurist said.

Another new panel discussion is Cosplay Changed My Life, presented by cosplayer Luis Andres Valdez, who goes by the alias Brown Ranger. It begins at 2 p.m. at the Library.

Andres Valdez – joined with friends Princess Potato Cosplay, Candyfloss Cosplay and CandidJohnKim – will discuss how cosplaying has been one of the greatest decisions he’s made and how anyone can do it on a budget.

He began cosplaying in 2014 to meet new friends.

“I’m around people who I can relate to a lot who were probably bullied as I was and being made fun of for being a nerd,” the Milford resident said.

From cosplaying, Andres Valdez has become friends with actor Jason Lee Scott, better known as the Red Ranger from the “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” TV show.

“I'd always had a dream of meeting one of the original Power Rangers to now becoming friends with him," said Andres Valdez, who graduated from Delaware Technical Community College’s Owens Campus in Georgetown.

He first met Scott at Awesome Con in DC last year and then again at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con this spring. Scott remembered him. The two exchanged numbers and now text each other occasionally, he said.

“It’s cool my childhood hero knows me by my first name," Andres Valdes said.