ConBravo: A Weekend in Review
I am so utterly exhausted right now and yet I wouldn’t have it any other way. This past weekend was ConBravo 2012 in Burlington, Ontario and it was easily one of the best weekends of my life. This week’s blog is dual purpose; a review of this great little convention that could and to tell you why smaller community based conventions are often better than the big overblown celebrity based conventions.
This year ConBravo was three days long, Friday through Sunday. Unfortunately due to work I didn’t make it until later on Friday night, but there was still tons of fun to be had. I met up with the TWIG guys and roamed the halls talking to people, caught MegaRan’s show and then went to check out some late night panels. I really wanted to check out the My Little Pony panel on Friday night so I dragged Snowball with me because he wanted to see what bronies were all about. Unfortunately the hotel’s air conditioning was on the fritz so we couldn’t stay long without boiling in the packed panel room.
After a late night dinner and hangouts with new friends we made it home around three in the morning to crash. Snowball stayed with Laidman and I and we were happy to have him! That’s something I heard a lot of at ConBravo and other cons, friends staying with friends, friends sharing hotel rooms. It’s great because often you don’t get to see your friends as much as you like so you get a whole weekend to be with each other!
Saturday we were up and running, getting back to the con around 10am for when the dealer room opened. I took one sweep around the room and ran for the bank machine! Before I could hand over all my cash to the dealers in the room we went to check out the Retro Game Collecting panel staring Birdman and Roo from clanofthegraywolf.com so we could learn more about how to score gold when hunting for old games.
The rest of Saturday was spent running from panel to panel, shopping, and filming for our upcoming video about ConBravo. Panels were the name of the game all weekend and we tried to cram in as many as possible. Every panel I went to was crammed full of attentive fans. A real standout panel for me was Being a Girl on the Internet with Lindsay Ellis (Nostalgia Chick), Elisa Hansen (Vampire Reviews), and Katie Shanahan (comic artist extraordinaire). Being able to discuss what many women have to go through not only online, but off as well was informative and reassuring, but a little scary too.
Sunday was a bit of a repeat of Saturday; awesome panels, filming, talking to great people, and having a great time all around. That’s the consensus I got from everyone, they had an awesome time whatever they got up to at ConBravo. Unlike larger cons where I find “I had a great time!” is always followed up with “but I was disappointed by,” ConBravo was nothing but smiles. Smaller cons have that in their advantage, and that’s created by the community.
I was able to approach anyone and received a smile in return and then able to talk to them like we’d known each other before this weekend. Everyone was just happy to share fandoms. Big conventions are great, but don’t look down your nose at the little guy, chances are there is going to be more for you to do at a smaller convention, especially when it comes to guests. At a big con the guests are shuttled around by handlers and do their signings, maybe a panel, and leave. At ConBravo the guests were out and about, mingling with people, talking with fans, and making everyone who came feel welcome.
Of course there were a couple negatives I saw, but before you’re like ‘WHAT?!’ let me finish. Two small things, the first being space. The convention was held in a hotel in Burlington and it was just too damn small for all the people that showed! Panels were crammed full of people, rooms got too hot, and it was hard to find your way through all the people. That’s not a bad problem to have! ConBravo is already planning to fix this by holding the event in a larger space next year!
Another tiny problem? The dealers room needed more space for dealers! Again, small problem to have and really it’s probably for the best since I shouldn’t spend all my money! I walked away with a ton of new buttons, a Twilight Sparkle pillow, an art print from Katie Shanahan, and…
A Twilight Sparkle wig! That’s right, I was so inspired by the amazing cosplay I saw at ConBravo that I am going to cosplay for the very first time as Twilight Sparkle for FanExpo!
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