Every day it seems like a new announcement is being made about yet another convention being cancelled or postponed. We all wish that we weren’t stuck at home and could meet our favorite celebrity, wear that cosplay we worked so hard on, or simply attend our favorite convention and everything that it brings.
Some are looking to make the best of a bad situation and do what they can and give us at least little tastes of that convention experience that we love so much. Wizard World is selling tickets for “virtual experiences” with celebrities who had been scheduled for conventions, and a group of my friends put on our own small-scale virtual convention this past weekend. Wig company Arda Wigs is in the second week of their own virtual convention, complete with an artist alley, panels, a rave, Instagram contest, badges, and a masquerade!
One of the best keepsakes from a convention weekend is your badge. Sure, it is sometimes a pain during the convention when you have to pull it out every time you go in and out, or are constantly trying to keep it hidden from photos. But I know at least a couple friends who like to keep their badges afterward as a momento from all the fun times you just had. Arda is including an ArdaCon badge with every purchase during the month of April, but you can also download your own here with no purchase necessary. The company is encouraging “attendees” to share photos of them with their badges and the hashtags #ArdaCon2020 and #ArdaShare throughout the month for a chance to win prizes in May.
It’s no secret that the cancellation of conventions has meant a financial hit to a lot of people. Among those affected include the artists, photographers, costumers, and others who sell their wares at cons. Arda has created their own Artist Alley, with quite a selection of vendors for you to peruse. You might see some of your favorites listed, and you might just discover some new favorites! Each link takes you to the artists’ websites, and anything you purchase will be sent directly from that person. You can see the full list here.
Something every cosplayer loves is showing of their fabulous cosplays, and it’s even better if it gets you a prize! Every Monday through Thursday, Arda will share images submitted via Instagram with the hashtags #ArdaCon2020 and #ArdaSelfie2020 on their account, and each entry they share will earn a $10 gift certificate to Arda Wigs. Entries they share on April 3rd, 10, 17th, and 24th will get a $50 gift certificate, and one lucky entrant will be awarded a $75 gift certificate! For more details, you can visit the main ArdaCon page.
For those skilled enough to make their own costumes, it can be immensely rewarding to compete in a masquerade or cosplay competition and show off all your hard work. ArdaCon is putting on their own masquerade, with a variety of levels of competition and prizes!
The rules state that you need to have made at least 75% of your costume, and require a reference photo for your character, a minimum of 3 in-progress photo, a write-up about the costume, and photo of your finished costume. You don’t have to be wearing your costume for the last photo, but they highly encourage mirror selfies. Since we are obviously in the age of stay physically distant, there are no group entries.
The three main categories of competition are Novice, Journeyman, and Master. According to their rules, Novices have only been making costumes or a couple years or less and have not won a craftsmanship award, Journeyman entrants have been creating costumes for a few years or have won a couple of awards already, and Masters have been making costumes or many years or won numerous awards.
Prizes range from gift certificates valued between $15-150, and awards will be given to Judge’s Choices, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in each category, and several others. For the full list of rules, list of judges, submission details, awards and more, you can visit the Masquerade page.
What’s a convention without a little partying? After a long day at the convention, there’s nothing more fun than grabbing some dinner to refuel and then dancing until late into the night with your friends. Arda has assembled four DJs who will stream live music on April 24th starting at 5pm CDT on Arda’s Twitch channel.
Here’s the schedule for that night:
- 5:00 VJ Daguru (synthwave, trance)
- 6:00 Mesmerist (dub, trap)
- 7:00 Marson (hardcore, dub)
- 8:00 DJ School Pizza (hardcore)
It wouldn’t be a true convention without panels! At a convention panel, you can discuss your favorite fandoms, learn a new skill, and so much more. Arda has assembled quite the array of panels that cover things like corsetmaking, cosplay basics, how to commission a cosplay, painting with acrylics, organizing group photoshoots, fandom meetups, and much more!
They are using a variety of virtual means including Twitch, Facebook Live, YouTube, and Zoom. Just in case you can make the exact time of the panel, many of the will still be available online afterwards. Just a few of the featured panelists include Papa Bear Cosplay, Bijou Bentley, GSTQ Fashions, HDC Fabrications, Pros and Cons Cosplay, La Vie Cosplay, and many more! You can find the full list of panels, along with their corresponding links here.
While it may not be quite the same as being physically present at a convention with 50,000 of your closest nerd friends, its good to see that the convention community is doing what they can to make this period of isolation more tolerable, and bring a spark of fun to our days.