Having a Child with Down Syndrome, Part CXXXIX: ConnectiCon

Last year, Alice and I went to ConnectiCon for a day, which worked out pretty well. This year, we decided to try an overnight. The day before, I talked to her about expectations what we were going to do. Alice lit up when I mentioned a hotel, because she¬†loves hotels and thinks it’s the lap of luxury to lie in bed and watch a hotel TV. I made it clear that hotel was for sleeping. On the drive down, I repeated the expectations and we arrived with perfect timing to check in, drop off our bags and catch a shuttle to the convention center right before opening.

This year we again went as Captain America and Peggy Carter, but as a version cast in the 18th century: Colonial America and Red Coat Peggy Carter. In the late summer of last year, I started seeking out clothing patterns for this. We had taken a vacation in Colonial Williamsburg and I found a men’s pattern that I could make work and online I found a pattern for a women’s riding outfit that could get cast into a red coat uniform quite well. I took me the better part of the year to make everything, picking up some sewing time here and there.

When we got there, our first stop was a photo booth set up by Eric Dinnen. He did great work with us last year and I was happy to work with him again, but I wanted to do it early while we still were fresh.

He took a few pictures of Alice, then of us together and then just me. I can’t wait to see the proofs.

We looked at people in costume and went to a session about cosplay materials before walking the dealer room for a bit. Alice was pretty good about asking people permission, although from time to time she’d forget to tell me and start wandering off towards someone, so we had to practice that a bit.

What do you do when you see more Captain Americas? You get them to pose with you, that’s what!

Lots of people stopped us for photographs. This one was taken by Christopher Robin Wetherell, posted with his permission.

There was a scheduled photo shoot for Marvel characters, so we did that. This is first time we participated in this kind of shoot and it went pretty well, although it was super hot outside. One thing that I found surprising was that I was not particularly sweaty, considering the heat. When I made the suit, I lined the jacket and breeches with linen and backed the vest with linen and the blue material is cotton duck. It’s all very heavy, but it breathed extremely well.

One nice thing that I enjoyed is that I recognized people from the previous year and they recognized us.

The woman in the turquoise suit and the man in the doughboy uniform were familiar from the previous year.

We saw two other Peggy Carters while we were there and this one came to the shoot. Of the Marvel characters, the most represented was Spiderman, for sure.

At one point, the woman who is front and center asked for a Captain America shield for the photo. Of course I obliged.

After the shoot, Alice and I went inside and got some water and took a break for a while. We walked around a little more, but Alice was getting kind of tired and started acting out a bit.

We took the shuttle back to the hotel. I brought some street clothes for us so we changed and Alice removed her make up before heading out to dinner. The next day, we got into different costumes, checked out, stowed our bags in the car and then headed back to the convention center.

On Sunday, we went as characters from Star Trek. I had convinced E to knit a sweater to match a jacket from Star Trek: Nemesis. Since it was knit and zipper front, we dubbed it a Picardigan. I also sewed a skant for Alice. In the mid 90’s I bought some Star Trek toys that were decent enough props for us to use. So we were all set.

The day was shorter than the previous, but that’s OK. Over all, Alice did a great job. On the dealer floor we ran into this group of people doing Spiderverse:

They were so good – I especially liked Spider Ham. After thanking them, I turned to Olivia Octavia and said, “Oh, great. It’s Liv”, which made her crack up. We went to the Cosplay Chess session – a goofy live chess match with cosplay characters and lots of bad jokes. Alice loved it. When she realized that the convention was coming to an end, she was madly trying to get me to take pictures of her with other cosplayers, which is just fine as long as she was polite.

I like ConnectiCon a lot. For one, it’s not too, too crowded. But what I really like is that the event encourages diversity. There were restrooms that were clearly marked as all gender; disability services were front and center; the presenters in the sessions that we went to were careful with pronouns and to adapt as needed. Alice and I were treated uniformly well. I’m sure there were issues – any event this size is going to have them – but we didn’t see problems ourselves. Alice was uniformly treated well by the staff and other attendees and that’s a great thing. We both had a lot of fun and the overnight experiment was a success. It was also nice to be out of reach of current politics, although I did have several people ask me about the colonial airport wars (I usually replied that it was a tough battle at the Starbucks in terminal C).