BACKING from Oz Comic-Con is changing the game for this small, regional town.
Australia's premier pop-culture convention is helping to bring to life a superhero theme worthy of comic book depiction for Ballan Autumn Festival.
For a town with about 2000 residents, this event averages about 10,000 during festival time but organisers expect this to boom and bring a whole new crowd to the streets.
BAF president Deryck Carruthers said superheroes was a theme every generation could enjoy and find a favourite hero.
Supervillains are also welcome for the festival in a bid to be more inclusive.
"People really get into superheroes. Especially in such a chaotic world, it's good to have belief in heroes and moral mentors for children showing the difference between right and wrong," Mr Carruthers said.
"...It's a bold theme for those who want to be imaginative for the costume competition and the parade. It also provides an opportunity to recognise our local heroes as a community."
Mr Carruthers said to attract a partner like Oz Comic-Con helped to boost the BAF profile.
Cosplay involves people dressing up as characters from comics, film and television. Creating costumes from crafts and imagination has also led to a strong global sharing community online, including demonstration videos for making looks and accessories.
Mr Carruthers said a great example in the booming interest in cosplay across the region was Ballarat youth event PopCon, which had grown 10-fold in three years.
BAFS - which has its own comic-style event t-shirts - is hosting a competition for best superhero costumes, including a super-pet division.
Other activities will include a mad scientists station, circus/superhero skills sessions and space in the library to design new superheroes.
Superheroes for selfies will also be roaming the festival while Gordon's gospel choir and African-style drummers will provide live superhero music.
BAFS favourites will also be on back from the grand parade, cake-decorating competition and 100 market stalls.
Ballan Autumn Festival is on March 15.
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