April 29, 2018

Kummacon 2018 – Free and awesome

Hello people!

It's time to write about my trip to Kummacon, the small free-entrance con in Oulu that was located in a new place called Oulu's international school – and by "new" I mean that I've never heard of any other Oulu-based convention being arranged there before (and there's multiple). Kummacon was held during 28-29 April but I only attended on 28th, aka the Saturday, as my whole visit to Oulu was just a day trip with my family. You see, my mom and stepdad wanted to go shopping and so me and Frozen Angel got a free ride to go check out Kummacon meanwhile! Win-win, in other words. :D

Okay so, Kummacon. I need to make it clear that this summary will only be about my experiences on Saturday and thus I have no idea what Sunday was like, although I can assume it was very similar to Saturday but just with different activities (the cosplay competition was on Sunday, weirdly enough). 

Kummacon 2018 info leaflet.
The night before the con I was thinking if I should cosplay or not. My original idea was to just dress as a random Jedi (Star Wars, duh) because of the con's cosmos theme but yeah, the more I thought about it the more I felt like I didn't want to carry around a bag of changing clothes all day (read: heavy and bothersome) and spend hours of my limited con time on dressing up and then take off the costume before going home. I ended up going casual but packed with me a horse mask, just in case. Sadly I ended up not getting to wear the horse head as, by the time I was ready to derp around (finished exploring the con etc), mom suddenly called me and we had to leave. xD

Okay so, the con morning went without any issues. I woke up on time, the ride arrived on time and everything was smooth. Before the con we stopped at Kärkkäinen to go shopping (glad we did as I found a really nerdy Playstation logo t-shirt!) and have a snack. 

I think me and Frozen Angel got to Kummacon somewhere after 12-ish, although I'm not sure at all as I didn't pay attention to the clock. ^^" To be honest, before going to the con we actually headed out to go battle a Tyranitar raid that was at a nearby Pokémon Go gym. xD There was a Latias raid right after at the next gym so yeah, we totally did that one as well as I heard from a friend that the locals were raiding it too. After the pocket monstering we finally headed for Kummacon (and we both were dumbfounded by how there constantly were 3-5 raids active nearby, that's insane when compared to our hometown, lmao).

Kummacon entrance.
My first impression was a bit sceptical but that little bit of doubt flew right through the window as soon as I stepped into the building: I was met by this kind of small-but-crammed con with a really welcoming atmosphere! Kummacon felt relaxed and despite having no entry fee it seemed to be arranged well – I was actually really surprised by the quality! I haven't been to a small (local) con that have felt this good for a long time and it just made it all the better as Kummacon is, in fact, the only con in Oulu that is free to attend. And I pray that it stays so, on behalf of my anorectic wallet, lol.

The first thing we did when we got inside the con was stare at the really full cloakroom at the entrance. It didn't take many seconds before a person (I assume a con worker) stepped up and kindly informed us that there's another cloakroom upstairs that we could use that is much less crammed. I said my thanks and we hurried upstairs. It might not seem like much but already this small but observing and thoughtful gesture gave me a good first impression because, honestly, I've been to some cons on which information has been really lacking. So yeah, we left our jackets and I left my hoodie hanging upstairs and then we headed back downstairs to go on the obligatory first exploration round.

Entrance view. Information desk in front.
These Daleks were at the entrance.
Entrance, aka first floor view. Stairs leading upstairs visible.
Despite it being a school building it didn't really feel like a school building, ya know? At least not the main areas because they were quite spacious, modern, very light and luminated and thus gave me the impression that it's a nicer building, lol. But I can admit that the corridors looked very schooly.
I was positively surprised by how easy it was to find empty chairs to sit on though, despite how it seemed like there was a lot of people around at all times.

The Dealer's Hall was really crammed, not gonna lie. It was a bit hard to move around there occasionally and get in the front to actually be able to see and buy things. 
I was really excited when I noticed a portfolio with old Pokémon cards lying below the table of one of the sellers. I picked it up and started going through it and the nostalgy levels were high – I even found some cards that I wanted to add to my collection! Before going to the con I was actually hoping that there would be someone selling Pokémon card singles, as I had seen it at Matsucon last year. My hopes were fulfilled. x)

Pokémon cards for sale! *excited screaming*
Except for the cards I was also surprised by the amount of sellers who sold stuff like pocky and ramune as there seemed to be so many! Ramune is still too expensive on my watch, although I find myself temptated anyway. Suffer in silence, you shall.

Urumi was there, as always. I appreciate legit merch sellers.
Of course the Ginga Densetsu Weed plushies were available!
There was a fair amount of fashion stuff available as well.
Pocky heaven...
... and ramune heaven. :DD
There was a respectable amount of sellers (especially considering small-cons-in-the-north standards) and I liked how the Artist's Alley was separated from the Dealers's Hall by being on different floors. Artist's Alley was on the second floor and, it might just be me, but I'm pretty sure there were more tables than average. I ended up buying some beautiful fridge magnets by SaQeArt, a winter-themed fox magnet and one depicting Amaterasu's head from Ōkami, one of my all-time favorite video games. There was a lot of tables with really nice art for sale!

View of the second floor.
Second floor but from a different angle.
Beautiful art by Waittiz and Sysirauta. ♥
Super nice Pokémon stickers by Kristmarian. ♥
Every time I check Artist's Alley I'm on the lookout for more magnets to decorate my fridge and freezer with, haha. It's the main thing I check for and if I find art that I like I'm almost certain to buy one. x) *hinthint* I love stuff that's decorative and useful at the same time and that brightens up my day – magnets do all of those and they add that personal, geeky touch to my home. I would buy stickers otherwise but I can't deal with the thought that they'd eventually get worn out. ;_; I want my con memories to last for years.

Galazy muffins at the Dealer's Hall.
I didn't run into any familiar faces at Kummacon but despite that I really enjoyed my time there – the whole con felt bubbly and somehow really inviting. It was as if I almost had in my grasp that little something, that I had lost along the way, and which is what made going to cons fun for all those years ago when I first started – Kummacon had a bit of that magic feeling. It's really hard to pinpoint what exactly it is but I guess it's something with the light-hearted mood of the con, coupled with the way it seemed to flow so effortlessly and how it just felt like a small family instead of the dreaded "we and them" camps.

Kummacon's LGBTQ+ booth.
I'm not aware of the con's inner workings but in my eyes it seemed to work well. Every time I went to the info desk I got really helpful and clear answers, despite being a really awkward person and asking potentially dumb questions like "where's the toilets" as I literally didn't find them myself this time. xD Kummacon had water drinking spots laid out etc and activity rooms were marked with funny signs that raised the mood. Speaking of which, I adored the effort the Kummacon people had put into decorating the con to match the cosmos and space theme! There were countless galaxy artworks (seemed to be painted on black plastic bags as canvas) spread around the con, funny Star Wars signs and a lot more. There was even a Yoda and a Chewbacca plush doll sitting at the info desk and being all cute. x)
The silly decorations had me smiling all along and they really set the atmosphere just right – it's the small things that make the experience go from good to great. I wish more cons bothered to spice up the con building with hilarious geeky signs.

Info sign in Yoda speech. Genius.
First-aid sign. These cat signs were so cute!
A reminder sign to drink water.
It seemed like Kummacon also had in use the backyard(?) of the school. There was some kind of playground in there and it was overall a nice area to just hang around with if you wanted more space (pun not intended). The front yard was also a good place to chill at and there was even a statue in front that was a Pokéstop, fuck yeah! Someone kept putting lures on it too and so I just sat upstairs and caught whatever mon that spawned. xD

Funny sign leading to the backyard(?).
Pun is "outer space" as in outdoors, haha.
I had originally assumed that we'd get to be at the con until it closed at 18:00 (I had planned to wear the horse mask later on but yeah, it didn't happen cuz sudden leave) but mom called me when the clock was around 15-16 something and said that they were done shopping and asked if we were ready to go. Me and Frozen Angel were pretty much done exploring so we thought we had seen enough to feel satisfied. Of course I could have stayed longer (it was fun to just hang around) but as it was just a day trip we were both dependant on getting a ride back from le parents. x)

Kummacon had a board game room and a karaoke room
but sadly no video game room.
I left Kummacon behind feeling really content. I went in with my typical low expectations for a small con and came out feeling that it's without a doubt one of the best small cons that I've attended in a long time. The quality was really good considering that I didn't pay a single coin for the experience – perhaps the only thing I'm a bit meh about is that there was no video game room at all. But, then again, I was so busy playing Pokémon Go because of the lure opportunity that it didn't really matter much anyway. xD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Kummacon was a really pleasant experience, all in all. I'd definitely go there again and I approve of the international school as a con location. Kummacon had the charm and feel on point while still having enough to offer to keep you smiling and entertained. The decorations really set the mood just right and I enjoyed how friendly, humble and relaxed the whole con felt. Everything seemed to be arranged and planned with care and I didn't experience anything that made me feel uncomfortable either. 
I hope Kummacon can keep on being a free event and keep the current quality, as this was definitely a 5/5 achievement in my books. I didn't really feel bored at any point and despite not attending any activities or panels I still had a good time just chilling and savoring the happiness and community vibes that were all around me. 
I'm probably repeating myself a lot but fuck it, Kummacon nailed it in small-con-standards and I'm super happy that I spent a Saturday of my life to go give it a visit. It's really refreshing to see a quality con, albeit small, that's going around without money bills flashing in front of their eyes. I've seen way too much horse manure, greed and drama with other cons having constantly rising ticket prices and then being complete flops in terms of value for money so yeah, I'm so damn thankful that Kummacon is free (so few cons are nowadays) and still does a good job. Amen.

Thanks for reading! 

No comments: