It’s time for yet another installment in my ongoing travels to nerdy events around the area! This one was actually held in my own backyard, or pretty close to it, in the Cedar Bluff area of Knoxville. This tiny one-day convention was actually not on my initial “con schedule” for the 2015 season, and it just goes to show that some of the most fun adventures aren’t always the ones that you plan far in advance!
It all started when my boyfriend (who I met at Yama-Con this past December!) asked if I wanted to do a couple cosplay with him. We’d be dressing up as characters from the same series who worked well as a pair; also known as something I had only done with my best convention-going friend a couple of times and had wanted to do again since forever. We decided on cosplaying from Pokémon, me as Espeon and him as Umbreon, two of the evolutions of the Pokémon Eevee. This couple cosplay ended up “evolving” into an even larger group, with friends we had met at Yama-Con deciding to cosplay Leafeon, Glaceon, and Eevee, and my friend Aly that I met at LMU joining us and cosplaying Sylveon. Another Sylveon cosplayer even joined us last-minute With seven of us in total, this was by far the largest group I’ve ever attended a convention with!
I spent a couple of weeks before LMU’s classes started again compiling and making my costume. The majority of the outfit was commissioned from someone else or bought, but Espeon’s ears, tail, and other accessories were completely of my own making (after quite a few hours of cutting fabric and getting burned by hot glue). The process may have been a bit painful, but I was extremely proud of the result and couldn’t wait to show it off. Anime Day itself was held on the 17th of January, the first Saturday of the spring semester – a wonderful way to start off a new semester and a new year!
Aly and I arrived at the convention area, the first floor of a hotel, and looked around the area while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive. It was a small con, with only a dealer’s room, an area for artists to sell their creations, one panel room, and the rest of the space for moving about and hanging out. There was also a small outdoor area between buildings perfect for taking pictures that many cosplayers took advantage of throughout the day. After exploring the venue, the remainder of our group arrived and the awesomeness truly began!
Most of us entered the informal costume contest hosted by the convention, where we were each given a number and went around showing our cosplays to the dealers and artists, who then voted for the ones they liked the best. The first half of our morning was spent making rounds to have our costumes judged. Though I didn’t have a tremendous spending budget for this con at all, I bought a few cute buttons and art while going around to the different tables as well. All too soon, the first half of the day was gone; after a lunchbreak nearby, we dove back in to see what we could get into. We definitely had the most pictures of us as a group taken in the afternoon, one benefit of cosplaying as a team. One of the cutest photo ops we were a part of all day was actually with people who weren’t originally part of our group: two more Umbreon cosplayers, a Jolteon cosplayer, and a younger attendee dressed as a Pokémon Trainer!
We all spent a little time in the afternoon going our separate ways and enjoying the convention on our own or in smaller groups. At one point, after a long time of walking and standing, some of us found a cozy spot near the wall of Artist’s Alley for an “Eevee cuddle pile”. While naptime isn’t usually first on my list of priorities when I attend conventions, taking it easy for a bit was a nice change of pace! After attending one last panel that announced the winners of the cosplay contest (who weren’t any of us but were insanely talented costumers), we lingered to talk to the people we had met that day until the convention hall began to close. As a fun end to a wonderful and intimate event, all of us headed to West Town Mall, still in costume, to get dinner and enjoy each others’ company a while longer.
Apparently, there’s going to be another Knoxville Anime Day this summer – and I plan on attending after how enjoyable this event was! I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of a small one-day convention, but was pleasantly surprised, and certainly won’t be so quick to judge an event by its cover in the future. My next convention is going to be ETSUCon in Johnson City, February 21-22; for more of my con-going adventures, be sure to follow my blog!