Last week, I hosted a Cosplay Beach Gathering in Toronto. Although it’s on the beach, the event was very similar to cosplay picnics. And I’ll admit that I didn’t want to host one this year. Because getting a permit and having the responsibility of owning one…kind of sucks. That’s right; I would responsible for anything bad that could have happened. And let me tell you; if you read the rules of the permit and conditions, there’s like a million ways you can get in trouble.
On top of that, it would screw up my sleep schedule (I work very late at my job). I don’t know about you, but I hate being sleep-deprived.
Anyways, here I am at the beach on Saturday. It’s 10:00 AM, less than 3 hours sleep, tired as hell with over 10 hours left before I could go home and hit the bed to go back to sleep. And I was anticipating bad things on my mind; dealing with difficult people, getting in trouble with park enforcement for some random rule, and having to follow so many rules that would kill the fun. At the time, I so regretted getting a permit.
But after the event was over, I never regretted getting that permit after all. The cosplay beach party was awesome!
In fact, everything went very well! Everyone was having a great time. The parks staff was very nice and accommodating and not draconian as the permit would imply they would be. And everyone was so appreciative of me holding this event.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s so fulfilling to see people happy, knowing that you played a part in that happiness.
I think it’s a combination of cosplay picnics being so uncommon these days, that when one does actually happen, it’s pretty exciting. It may also be the vibe that we set at our social gatherings. Me and the other CHG admins notice that many of our attendees use our events as a place to let their guard down and have fun. We believe we foster a fun, positive vibe at our events!
There’s a lot of reasons why cosplay social gatherings are special:
(NOTE: Cosplay “picnics” are another term for cosplay social gatherings at a park or in this case, a beach. I’m not really sure why it’s called picnic, but rarely is food ever served at one of these gatherings!)
They tend to be more laid back and in my opinion; everyone is friendlier. Cosplay picnics allow the opportunity for newcomers to attend a cosplay-related event to those who don’t have the money for a convention. Because they are free to attend. In fact, a lot of people I know in the community started by attending a cosplay picnic. It’s a great way to get in the scene.
Most importantly, cosplay picnics give people the opportunity to socialize and meet new friends. For myself as an event organizer, it’s nice to see someone who was timid when they started, then become more confident and outgoing through meeting new friends and being in the community.
Overall, the cosplay beach party was one hell of an event. Definitely a highlight this year was seeing most of the attendees taking part in our activities like the scavenger hunt and the spoon races. It reminds me why most of us cosplay in the first place – to have fun!
Now don’t get me wrong, holding a cosplay picnic isn’t always glamorous. I’ve dealt with incredibly rude attendees at times. I even had a photographer telling me to get out of “his” way despite shooting at my event. And of course, everyone leaving their garbage everywhere (but that doesn’t bother me much – it comes with the territory hosting a party!)
But you forget all that when everyone is having a great time. It sounds corny, but when you give back to the community (whether cosplay or not), you really feel good about it and it’s very fulfilling.
Anyways, I’ve thought about writing a blog post about running a cosplay event at a city park or beach. It would be nice to see more cosplay picnics, but because of my work schedule I’m unable to hold as many as I used to. If you guys are interested, I can definitely write one up. It’s not hard but you just got to follow the rules.
Will I hold another cosplay beach party in 2019? Before I held the event last week, it was a definite “No.” But after having such a great time, I might reconsider. 🙂