May 29, 2023

Sastamalan cosplay-päivä 2023

 Hello everyone!

I attended a mini cosplay event at Sastamala's library this past Saturday (27th May) and thought I'd do a quick summary about it. The event has also been called "Sastamalan cosplay-tapahtuma" but it's the same thing – dear child has many names and yada yada. This was a rather spontaneous trip on my part as I happened to be dwelling in a nearby town at the moment the event was held. 
Let's go!

Event poster.

As this was a one-day event (roughly 6 hours duration) it didn't really require any planning except for waking up during a reasonable time and driving there. As I'm quite far from home I also didn't have any costumes with me and so I went in casual gear. My company and driver for the day was Firith. It took us roughly 50 minutes to drive to the library on this bright summer day.

Sastamala library entrance.

I'll admit I've never been to Sastamala's library before – heck, I've literally only briefly visited Sastamala once before for a friend's after-wedding party. So it's almost completely unknown territory for me but yeah, it looked like a comfy town. 
It was easy to find a free parking lot just outside the library and after I had Pokémon Go'd the immediate surroundings (the library was conveniently a blue gym with space for us xD) we walked in. My instant reaction was that it didn't look that much livelier than it would on your average library day, except for some kids in colorful outfits. And I gotta say I almost felt like a fossil in comparison to the age group of the other visitors – mainly school-age children. There were some who looked like teens, possibly young adults but fuck I felt old lmao. That, or transported back to 2009 when you'd still see kids in Naruto cloaks and Miku Hatsune outfits running around. It was charming though and weirdly nostalgic. The kids will be alright. :')

General view of the location.

We actually arrived just in time to watch the cosplay competition. They had some technical issues and yeah, the contestants who were mostly small kids were obviously very shy to be on stage and to speak into the mic so, umm, it goes without saying that the whole competition was over very fast considering that a full hour had apparently been reserved for it on the schedule. I can't blame the kiddos though, they were clearly nervous and intimidated to be in front of a lot of parents and other visitors watching them. Heck, I have stage fright too I once almost fainted the one and only time I tried to sing karaoke in front of my mom and cousins. xD There were four winners and I gotta say I was surprised by the quality of the prizes – huge plush dolls were given out to at least the second and first place I think? I mean.. *prepares old man voice* back in my day you'd get like a pack of poker cards if you placed in Kemi's manga day. For real, for real.
No but really, the contestants were all adorable and I think it's great that there's this kind of first-timer friendly events that are aimed at the younger population. A lot of cosplay competitions in other, more well-known events are very high-threshold and it can feel like there's a lot of requirements placed on you. Small and free events like this cosplay-day is a great gateway for newcomers to try out competing with almost no pressure, few to no restrictions (bought costumes were clearly allowed) and in a fun and stress-free environment. 

After the cosplay competition we checked the little spot reserved for the Artist's Alley and merchants. I was surprised there even was any sellers at all because the event was so tiny. And I was even more surprised to see a big-shot like Bard & Jester here, I mean these guys are famous and tour events outside the country borders! I've seen them in Närcon in Sweden.
A combination of Artist's Alley and merch sellers.

Bard & Jester had some sick steampunk gear etc for sale!

There were two Artist's Alley tables, of which one of them I immediately recognized from Kummacon. I did notice that there was a third table that was completely empty, which made me wonder if there had been a last minute cancellation? I did buy a few things too from aroaava.

I gotta say I liked the overall feeling of the event, it was really chill and casual. There might not have been a lot to do, when compared to a more typical con, but that's to be expected. There were plenty of different kinds of crafty stations like a table for perler beads, decorate a sakura tree with origami flowers, a lucky wheel and there was also a much appreciated table with free coffee, tea, cookies, pocky sticks and even popcorn. Now that amount of generosity gets two thumbs up from me!

Some kind of lucky wheel thingy?

Decorate the tree activity booth.

The snacks and drink booth, all free. #bless

I read that there was supposed to be a place where you could try on a VR headset but I didn't find it. Was lowkey bummed out as that did interest me a bit and it would have been fun to try out. Then again, maybe I should just have looked through things a bit more thoroughly but yeah, we didn't stay there for very long in the end.

Just for fun me and Firith participated in a lottery draw where you could win event merch (like those mugs on the picture below) just before we left.
Event merchandise. This had me surprised as well.

I gotta give compliments to the library workers who went all in on this day. There was this tattooed dude with amazing spiky punk-rocker hair and he was dressed at some point in a lab coat and something that looked like a homemade mask that resembled some kind of creepy green-eyed mosquito or something. Yes, it had the sucker made out of like part of a vaccuum cleaner or something lmao. It was weird, intimidating and awesome at the same time. 5/5 best outfit.

I don't have so much more to say. I enjoyed the event and how relaxed the atmosphere was. It was fun to watch the reaction of ordinary library visitors (grannies unaware of the event etc) when they saw youngsters roaming the area in fursuits and colorful wigs lol. I also gotta say that considering the scale of the event I felt like it must have had a decent budget to have as much activities as it did. I know libraries are often short on money as they're funded and dependent on the municipality and are sadly a very low-priority instance at that too. But libraries are one of the few safe havens left for (vulnerable) people in society – one of the few remaining welcoming public spaces where there's no pressure to buy anything. So yeah, it's very nice to see events hosted in libraries too to give these important places some much needed visibility and traffic. I definitely approve of the so-called "kirjastoconit", aka 'library cons'. These small events are great stepping stones for newcomers to enter the geeky community of cosplay and anime so yeah, let's keep these in the future too. <3

Thanks for reading, see y'all around!

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