Photos and story by Toriana Williams / Contributing Writer
A place where gamers, geeks and nerds unite, Conapalooza is a gaming and pop-culture convention held annually in Kingsport, Tennessee. This year, the multi-day event was held from Oct. 12 through Oct. 14. If you’ve never been to a convention before, or “con” for short, you might not know what to expect.
Several things take place inside the hallowed halls in which adults, teens and kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters from movies, video games, animes or books.
Inside the Meadowview Convention Center, panels, vendors and cosplay contests can be found. A panel is an activity or small event that a con-goer can attend or participate in. Many of these include discussions of particular shows, crafting, Q&As and more.
Vendors set up booths in the vendor hall to sell their products that are geared towards geek culture. Some products are pillows with people’s favorite characters printed on them, candles made to smell like Mrs. Weasley’s kitchen or a “Hobbit Hole,” illustrations by artists, clothes and the list goes on. Each vendor sells something unique and usually homemade.
Cosplay contests usually take place towards the end of the weekend. Cosplay is a shortened word for costume play and cosplayers create outfits inspired by or to look exactly like a particular character. People spend hours to even years on their cosplay outfit, making sure every detail is just right.
They’re then judged for their accuracy of the character they’re portraying and may possibly end up with an award for their efforts and skill. These awards vary from bragging rights to cash money to a feature on cosplay-centered magazines. Tickets to these events can be costly, but it’s an experience you’ll never forget.
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