Last weekend, the Mutineer and I attended our last convention of 2018: Heroes & Villians FanFest in San Jose/WalkerStalker Con. HVFF is small, but well-organized, well-staffed, and with plenty to the offer to the casual congoer. It was probably one of the best conventions I’ve ever attended, and I’ll tell you why.
Double the Fun
Walker Stalker Con took place at the same location, so the two events coincided, and entry to one guaranteed entry to the other. You could meet your favs from The Walking Dead, walk across the hall, and meet your favs from the Arrow ‘verse (like Stephen Amell or Colton Haynes…)
Although there were two events running simultaneously, the convention did not seem over-crowded or stifling the way some conventions do (I’m looking at you, SDCC). Even while in cosplay, I had no trouble maneuvering through the halls and aisles, and I did not even to worry about someone crushing my props!
It was only by chance that we discovered the amazing Accessibility Services team at HVFF. We had an extra badge that we offered to a mutual friend who lives in San Jose, and our friend had a friend who was volunteering as a staffer in the Quiet Room. (The Quiet Room is an onsite location that is meant for attendees with special needs or who need a minute or two away from the convention crowds. For attendees with sensory sensitivity, it’s a godsend.) After visiting the Quiet Room, we learned that there are quite a few services available to people with disabilities or who have special needs. There are ASL translators at the panels, accommodations for service animals, and special badges given to those who need the services. In fact, there’s even a specific area of the auditorium set aside for those with disabilities such as low vision or hearing difficulties, so that they can best enjoy the convention.
If you’re interested in attending a HVFF convention, you can see a full list of their accessibility services here.
As someone who cosplays fairly often, it’s really important to me that a convention be one that I feel welcomed into, and that I feel safe at. There are some conventions that are absolutely horrid for cosplaying…and sometimes everything else…and then there are some like LACC and HVFF that get it just right for costumed attendees. Heroes and Villains has a strict zero tolerance harassment policy, which is very reassuring because I’ve had some very, very bad experiences in the past at other conventions. It seemed to be implicitly understood by attendees that if you wanted a picture from a cosplayer, you asked. Now, there have been other cosplay-friendly conventions, but none where 100% of pictures taken of me were with my consent. It was a refreshing change.
Additionally, there was a small stage in the middle of the exhibition floor that was regularly used for small cosplay photoshoots and contests. While I had no interest in participating because I don’t really like to be onstage, it was nice to see other cosplayers get recognition for their hard work without needing to enter into a contest weeks in advance. In fact, some of the best cosplay of the weekend was highlighted in these smaller events.
My favorite thing of this convention, however, had to be the accommodations. Unlike a majority of conventions, this con’s hotel was actually attached to the convention center by an indoor walkway, meaning I could walk from my hotel room to the con floor without stepping foot into the cold December rain.
When you’re dressed like a Disney princess, there is no greater gift that a convention can give you.
Unless, of course, you invite Tyler Hoechlin to be a guest at your convention. (He’s absolutely lovely).
So if you’re shopping around for conventions next year, I highly recommend HVFF. It’s a smaller, more affordable convention, but nonetheless full of fun and activities for the whole family. AND they have several events across the U.S. and U.K., so there’s a strong possibility that there will be an event near you!
Happy con-going! My events for 2018 are finished, but stay tuned for 2019!
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