100-degree heat can't stop the Valley from dressing up and geeking out at Phoenix Fan Fusion

By Ignacio Ventura
Published: Sunday, June 4, 2023 - 11:10pm
Updated: Monday, June 5, 2023 - 8:28am

The Mandalorian costumes at Phoenix Fan Fusion
Chad Snow/KJZZ
Fans in costumes inspired by “The Mandalorian” braved triple-digit temperatures to attend Phoenix Fan Fusion on June 3, 2023.

Despite triple-digit heat this weekend, costumed characters descended on downtown Phoenix for the annual Fan Fusion gathering. Fans of Stars Wars, comic books and anime were part of the eclectic crowd.

Previously known as Phoenix Comicon, Fan Fusion serves as the pop culture epicenter to meet artists, actors and more.

With temperatures hovering near the 100-degree mark, covered walkways, water stations and industrial-sized fans were set up outside the Convention Center. Despite the heat, many visitors arrived in heavy costumes.

That included Brandon Keene, who came from Tucson. He was dressed as the titular character from the Star Wars TV series “The Mandalorian” — helmet and all.

“We'll have to be drinking a lot of water and electrolytes to replace all the sweat and stuff we’re losing. So we’re sweaty, but we’re here,” he said.

Phoenix Fan Fusion 2023
Chad Snow/KJZZ
Jared Fortini (right) came to Phoenix Fan Fusion 2023 dressed as Steve from the Netflix show “Stranger Things.”

In a Scoops Ahoy ice cream uniform from a fictional 1980s mall, Jared Fortini was dressed as Steve from the Netflix show “Stranger Things.”

“I’m excited that it’s a non-judgment, it's a judgment-free zone where you can just express yourself. I’m excited for the Villain’s Ball tonight. That’ll be really exciting. That’s something that we’ve been looking forward to all week,” he said.

Headliners for this year’s convention included a pair of Hollywood superheroes — Grant Gustin from “The Flash” TV series and Jeremy Renner, who plays Hawkeye in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

This was the second Phoenix Fan Fusion held since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which put the event on pause for two years.

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