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Cosplay, inclusivity highlight 2022 edition of The Penti-Con

It's all about nerds. It's all about geeks. It's all about pop culture, it's all about fandom.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

But more than that, it's all about inclusivity. If you're shy, it's okay. If you feel happier in the guise of your favorite anime character, it's okay. In fact, it's welcomed.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

And if you're a reporter who knows nothing about anime or the latest board or video games, that's okay too. You'll still be accepted.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

And that’s the way it was this weekend at The Penti-Con, Penticton's own two-day celebration of all things discussed above.

There were workshops. There were conferences. There were competitions. There were special guests. And on Sunday, there was a "modern" Magic: The Gathering card tournament that paid out $3,000, and something called "Zombie Games" to make up for the absence of a "Zombie Walk" this year in Penticton.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Card tourney

But more than that there was cosplay. It was everywhere. And in the middle of it all, a "Vendor and Artist Hall" where 40-plus exhibitors mingled with guests throughout the weekend.

For Kalena of Penticton, who showed up with her sister and a good friend and was dressed as "Wirt" from a Cartoon Network show called "Over the Garden Wall," the 2022 Penti-Con couldn’t happen soon enough.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Card tournament

"I went to Penti-Con when it first opened," she said, "and I loved it from the start. It's been so long now since it last happened, and I've been anticipating this day. I'm so excited to be here."

"TonaKuma" of Kelowna ran a booth where he sold his self-created digital art. Everything in and around the booth was a soft pinkish pastel. It was instantly mood-elevating.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> TonaKuma

"I'm a digital artist and a fan fiction writer," said TonaKuma, who was also one of the event panelists and is a pre-reader for the Zootopia News Network.

He talked about falling in love "back in the day" with an animated series called Watership Down and how other animated anthropomorphic (the attribution of human-like qualities to non-human entities) series afterward continued to capture his imagination.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

"I'm in my mid-30s," he said. "And there's something about the furry stuff I really, really like. And the pastel colours, they give me life."

Amber Raymond, who traveled to the event from Pritchard, BC, near Kamloops, was a stunning sight in a homemade Weeping Angel (Dr. Who) outfit.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Amber Raymond

"I just love the feel of this city," said the 39-year-old Whovian. "I've never come to Penti-con before and I just wanted to experience it. You could go to a huge convention, but I like the feeling of the community here."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

"Cake," from Penticton, brought friends Rachel, Victoria and Varian and said she "came for the fun."

"I wanted to see other nerds like us," she smiled. "It is fun. And I guess I find it comforting."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

Daughter Lily and mom Melanie walked the room wearing masks made by the former.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Daughter and mom Lily and Melanie

"It's just a lot of creative people who inspired me to make my own," she said. "The masks developed into what they are as they went along."

"She drags me along," laughed her mom, "but it's actually quite fun. We get lots of compliments. Everyone says 'You look so great.'"

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

Kelowna's Tyler Florence uses a super-slick pen display called a "Cintiq" to help create the distinctive artwork he defines as a "combination of hand-drawn and photo-manipulated elements." He calls his business MetaDragonArt.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Tyler Florence

Tucked away in one of the corners was a fellow going by the name of "Chimera Creations," who intermittently wore one of the goriest outfits of the day.

"This is Chainsaw Man, from the manga (anime comic book) Chainsaw Man and the anime Chainsaw Man," he said. "I've always enjoyed Halloween and this is a natural progression of that."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Chimera Creations as Chainsaw Man

Chimera Creations called The Penti-con a "neat community."

"Everyone has a fandom in common, and that takes the initial introduction out of the equation. It’s an inclusive positive environment and a great way to meet like-minded people and make friends."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

Later we met two friends from West Kelowna who ID'ed themselves only by their cosplay handle. Both portrayed characters from the animated series Arcane.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> cerberus_cos (2nd from right) and pixeledhero (right)

"My character is Vi," said cerberus_cos. "My friend and I are huge nerds."

We asked cerburus_cos -- whose Vi alter-ego was very convincing -- if cosplay in general had taken over her lifestyle.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

"Yes and no," she replied. "I have the tattoos this character actually has. I styled my hair like this. This is my real hair. But I've always been into nerd culture and cosplay has really dug its way in."

Standing next to cerburus_cos was "pixeledhero," playing the Arcane character named Caitlyn.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

"Cosplay lets you embody the character," she said. "You get to not be yourself for a bit and showcase your artistic side. A lot of people make their own costumes, make their own props, style their own wigs.

"There are some people in the world who do artwork and they draw stuff. But I'm not that kind of person. I wish I could but I cannot, not well at least. So I do this instead. And it's great."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

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