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Connecticon 2010 is over! After a long and exhausting weekend of otaku adventures, I am ready to write this review while things as still fresh in my mind.

Time and Location: As always, Connecticon was held in the prime of the summer-time in the nicest of locations. Though the weather was quite hot and humid this year, the Connecticut Convention Center is climate controlled and that AC was cranking out the cool air all weekend. There were even times when I was a little chilly!! But I would much prefer to be cold, than to over heat in a costume. It doesn’t take much really: wearing even just a wig greatly restricts how well heat can leave your body. Anyone in cosplay was super thankful for the air, I’m sure. But anyway, back to more about the location–conveniently placed in the city, right near the highway and several major roads, beautiful building with some great open spots for photos both inside and out. Perfect venue for a con, I think.

Parking: The parking lot was attached to the convention center, and though it was not air conditioned, it did provide some shelter from the summer sun while walking to and from your car. I much prefer this to any parking lot. The Parking rate was $3 for the first hour and $2 for every additional hour with a daily maximum of $19. But, you could not come and go as you please on this rate. Fortunately, Connecticon was offering parking passes that would allow you to come and go as much as you please for a flat rate. Basically, you pay the daily maximum up front, and get to come in and out as many times as you want. This saves you money because on a normal parking ticket, if you stayed for 7 hours, then left for dinner, and came back and spent 4 more hours there, you would be paying more than the daily limit because you left the garage. Getting a parking pass from Connecticon protects you from this over-charging. Very good option, and cheaper than Anime Boston parking.

Food: The food inside the convention center was expensive and limited. I heard that it costs $6 for a hamburger, and so I choose to eat outside of the convention or bring my own food. Though there is a sign at the entrance of the convention center that says “no outside food or drink beyond this point,” the rule is not enforced, and I really don’t think that they can, especially in heat like that, people need to be able to have water and a snack with them at all times. (There were water fountains throughout the building if anyone is wondering). So anyway, food around the convention center: there was a Burger King within walking distance, and an awesome pub across the street. I will try to get the name and add it. Also there was a  menu for pizza in the convention program book, probably targeted to anyone staying in the hotel. So there were options, but as always, eating during cons can get pretty expensive and I am a firm believer in bringing your own breakfast and lunch every day.

Lines: For the most part, completely reasonable. There were a few short lines for registration and main events but they all kept moving and were nothing more than should be expected. There were no lines that I saw for ordinary panels or the bathrooms, and only a few small ones for the ATM and food in the con center. One line that I would like the complain about is the bag-check line for the dealers room and video game room. On Friday, they were requiring that you check your bag before entering either the dealers room or the video game area (they changed it to only the video game area on Saturday and Sunday probably because things got so bad). When I checked my bag, I didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes, but when I tried to get my bag back, I found myself faced with a line at least 30 minutes long. It looked like they only had 4 people handling 600 bags, and they temporarily lost the bags of myself, the two people in front of me, and the man behind me. All were located eventually but let me tell you, it caused quite the delay. I had to go in and locate my own bag myself because it was filed incorrectly and they could not locate the number. One poor girl in front of me was waiting a very long time for her lost bag, and when she got SOME of the CONTENTS of her bag back WITHOUT THE BAG ITSELF, THOSE CONTENTS WERE ALL WET! I felt so bad for her. I told her she should definitely complain and that this was unacceptable. I think eventually she got her bag back because I saw her from afar later with a backpack that looked like the one she had described. I hope that everything turned out all right for her because she had electronics in her bag. 😦

Staff: I don’t have too much to say about the staff because I didn’t have many interactions with them. They stayed quietly off to the side checking badges and doing their jobs. They were certainly visible and I never felt like the con was getting out of control, but at the same time I think that the staff knew how to sit back and let things happen how the con goers wanted them to. Most of the staff I saw were volunteers and so I’m sure that that added to the laid-back, low-obligation feeling that I got from the men and women who kept everything running smoothly all weekend.

Main Events/Panels and Scheduling: I will talk about main events first. I myself only attended Anime Unscripted and Cosplay Chess, which I was participating in. Both were wonderfully entertaining and worth going to. I heard from talking to other con-goers that the Death Match and the Art Fight were also entertaining and fun, but that the masquerade really wasn’t. But that’s only what I heard. As far as panels went, I felt that the schedule could have been a little more dense. They didn’t make hardly anything overlap and so I actually felt that there was a lack of panels to go to at any given time. I was lucky if one panel interested me all day. Maybe if they had opened a few of the role-playing rooms up to panels, there would have been a few more appealing options. Josh was very disappointed that the “How to not suck at Pokemon” Panel was canceled last minute.

Cosplay: The cosplay and responses to cosplay at Connecticon were awesome. I had a great time dressing up and role-playing: waving my finger at all the Team Rockets as Officer Jenny. And everyone else looked great too. I saw some really good cosplays, and they were from so many different Genres! From Star-Wars to Kim Possible, to Avatar, to D.C. comics, to Hetalia and Soul Eater. Surprisingly little Naturo and Bleach, actually.

I give this con a 4 out of 5 stars. Beautiful location, not to crowded, great mix of people and fun main events. Everything seemed well planned and I never encountered a single unpleasant person. However the days dragged on with a limited panel selection and the incident with the bag-check really detracted from my experience. But still, this is a con worth going to! Next year it will be held in the Connecticut Convention Center, July 8th – 10th.

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