|Credit: Unconventional by Brent Brown|
Upon arrival, as is 501st tradition, we exchanged trading cards and greetings with fellow members (Anthony TI-28803, Sean TI-9014, Jordan TI-24138 & son, Lorne BH-4413) and took a quick tour of the grounds. It makes a huge difference to have access to free parking, free admission (for Legionnaires) and a private room for changing into costume and storing gear—this con offered all of the above! My 11-year-old and I suited up (myself as a Stormtrooper and my son as the Power Droid) and hit the con floor right away to welcome attendees.
|This officer called me over and I thought he was going to inspect my blaster because it looked too much like a real weapon. Instead, he wanted to stage this picture. Photo: Alt Media Pros|
|Also ran into longtime friend and 501st member Cher TK-976 (disguised as a Ghostbuster)!|
|All set for "Bring Your Blaster to School Day." Photo: Alt Media Pros|
This was my son's second trooping event and he did a great job of putting up with the heat and discomfort that comes with being a giant walking battery. At previous events, we played an audio loop of ambient robotic sound effects, but this time the boy wanted to loop John Williams' classic Cantina Band theme and it worked out great—some people were even inclined to dance as we passed. One of the great things about Star Wars costuming is that it's ingrained in our culture and, with the prospect of all-new films starting next year, we really felt the love with non-stop comments, fist-bumps and photo requests.
|Everyone loves Gonk Droids! Photo: Alt Media Pros|
|Photo: Lorne BH-4413|
I also finally got to meet Mando Mercs Founder Tom Hutchens in person after 8 months of working with his team to optimize the Mercs Facebook presence (go give them a like!). Like 501st Founder Albin Johnson, Tom has a good sense of direction for the club and he's just a pleasant guy to be around.
|Waiting impatiently for a live-action Boba Fett stand-alone movie.|
It was a great overall event and offered so much that I didn't touch upon in this post: robotics, movie vehicle replicas like the Ecto-1, Doc Brown's DeLorean and the Mystery Machine, charity raffles, Daleks, make-up panels and more. On a side note, while attempts to get my daughter indoctrinated into all things Star Wars has failed, she has taken an interest in Naruto and made her Deidara cosplay debut at GeekOut to the delight of other anime fans. Despite different genres, now we can look forward to spending more time together in costume!
|TI-9014, TI-28803, TI-24138 and TK-899 representing the Carolina Garrison.|