- local-ish for me, so no hotel costs (I stayed with a friend)
- relatively inexpensive ($35 for the weekend on preregister)
- TONS of awesome costumes for such a small con
- loved the panel programming
- made good use of space and layout; a very nice venue for this con
- lovely spaces for photography and opportunities for informal photos
- still pretty tiny, so not as much to do
- veeeeery small panel spaces–the popular ones got really crowded/loud/hot (Nerd Speed Dating, I’m looking at you)
- very tiny combined AA/dealer’s room, almost not worth going to
I had so much fun at this convention! It was in Chapel Hill instead of Raleigh this year, which was farther away from me, but I stayed with my lovely friend Kallie (as did several of my other friends) so the commute to and from the convention was about the same for me this year as it was last year. CA 2015 was the second year of this con, and it was great to see how it grew and got better in such a short time.
As I mentioned, Pun-isher Cosplay/Kallie put me up for the weekend, as well as hosting Tana Grace Cosplay/Tana and Emerii/Emely. Her family always spoils me whenever I am over there, and I am always happy to spend time with them! Tana and I drove up to Kallie’s place on Friday night, with Emely in her own vehicle, and we had a lovely evening of laughter and dog-petting.
On Saturday morning, Emely and I got up early to get into costume: Sango (me) and Kohaku (Emely) from that nostalgia-bomb classic, Inuyasha. We were so so excited to do these costumes! I originally made my Sango for Animazement; Emely, on seeing the photos, joked that she should do Kohaku. I bullied her into making it not a joke, and the two of us spent countless hours in my home sewing, Worbla-ing and painting to make our sad-sibling dreams come true. We left for the con before Kallie and Tana did, and arrived around 10:40 to pick up our passes, looking awesome.
At the con we met up with Brittany (Thel Phenom Cosplay), also known as a super awesome lady/my cosplay senpai, briefly; she was dressed as Garnet from Steven Universe. Then we went to wander a bit: checked out the dealer’s room as best we could with my boomerang in the way, wandered the halls, etc.
Emely contacted the photographer she’d booked a shoot for us with: Photosnxs. We spent a fun several minutes shooting with him in the grassy patio area on the second floor of the Sheraton, then went inside to hang out for a while whiile we waited for Tana and Kallie to finish getting their butts to the con. By the time we met them at Chipotle it was almost 1pm. We had our fun being stared at by UNC students and then went back to the con to hang out before Emely and I went to craftsmanship judging for the convention, Kallie changing into her Merida costume and Tana remaining casually dressed.
Judging went well and before we knew it, we were one of 17 entries in the Masquerade. We were the third act and struck some poses to the tune of “Grip!”, one of the Inuyasha OPs. There were some really beautiful costumes and some really awesome skits that came on after us, an EXTREMELY impressive roundup for such a small con in only its second year. Emely and I won one of the Judge’s Choice Awards, which gave us free entry to Monitacon in Jacksonville, NC next summer.
The Best in Show entry came from a mother and her daughter dressed as Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother from the new movie. I got to speak with them and HOLY cow, those costumes are amazing. The Fairy Godmother ensemble had LED lights built into a five-layer steel-boned corset. The Cinderella dress had over 100 yards of fabric in it. Those ladies were AMAZING and absolutely deserved their prize! It was especially inspiring because I recognized the mom (whose name I sadly didn’t get) as a contestant whose very first costume was debuted at Cosplay America 2014. To see her come so far in such a short time was very inspiring.
Fast forward: Kallie and I, as the token single friends, went to the Nerd Speed Dating panel hosted by the FanDames. This was a mixed bag: the panel room was way too tiny for the popularity of the panel (which was not the FanDames’ fault and they did their best), and so literally every seat was filled and the room was extremely hot and so loud you had to yell to hear your partner speak. Despite that, I did have fun talking to some new people, and actually made some new friends (although most of my conversation with them happened while we were waiting for the panel, not while in it).
Fast forward again, and all four of us (Kallie, Emely, Tana, and I) went to another FanDames panel: the Disney Sing-a-long. By this time I had shed most of my costume (holy GOD is Sango exhausting to wear!) and we were all just tired and happy to sing some Disney songs. That panel was great–surprisingly not too crowded and definitely a highlight of the convention.
After that we were tired enough to retire back to Kallie’s place with McDonald’s and collapse into bed.
On Sunday we slept in, taking our time getting ready. Kallie and Emely wore casual clothes while Tana did a pinup Sailor Moon and I debuted my Rin Tohsaka from Fate/stay night.
We hung out and took another turn around the dealer’s room. There we stopped by Simply Nerdtastic, a lovely little nerdy health and beauty store. The owners were incredibly sweet and wonderful–almost as much as their Twilight Town Sea Salt Ice Cream Sugar Scrub, which smells amazing and makes my hands feel like they aren’t even real hands. Go give them a like and check them out, y’all.
We grabbed lunch at McD’s again before my panel, The Student Cosplayer’s Survival Guide. This panel went well… until the part where I started talking about props. I picked up Hiraikotsu, my giant boomerang prop for Sango, and said, “Yeah, I could probably take out actual demons with this thing. It’s insanely tough.” I then tossed it onto the floor to demonstrate its toughness, and the cosplay gods laughed at me.
But it’s okay. The boomerang is made of 2″ pink insulation foam, which comes in sheets that are put together at the seams, and the seams in the foam I used for Hiraikotsu happened to fall smack in the middle of the boomerang. The weapon is also covered in sheets of Worbla, which met in the center as well. The center was the weak point of the weapon, but since it was a clean break I’ll be able to fix it without too much trouble. Still, I’ve learned my lesson. Also, it was extremely embarrassing. I felt like the kid in that video who puts his phone in a flip case and takes a hammer to it, only to open the case and freak out as he finds the phone is shattered. At least it didn’t happen before the Masquerade.
Immediately following the panel (which I thought went nicely despite my little disaster) Tana and I piled in my car and came home.
This con was convenient, cheap, easy, and so much fun–well worth all the effort involved to attend. I will definitely be back next year and look forward to seeing how it grows!
Featured image courtesy of the Cosplay America Facebook page.