2022 has meant the return of a ton of things that, back at the start of the pandemic, we thought were lost. Concerts. Theme parks. And now, the return of popular pop culture convention GalaxyCon to Richmond.
Over the course of one three-day weekend in March, GalaxyCon returned to the Greater Richmond Convention Center, attracting cosplayers, vendors, and excited attendees to descend upon the venue with joy in their hearts. Whether you were there to meet your favorite celebrity, peruse fan-made works in Artist Alley, show off your Sailor Moon cosplay, attend various panels, or even just complete your ever-growing X-Men collection, there was something for absolutely everyone this year.
The convention center remained packed all weekend, as fans of every franchise you can imagine filled the building with excitement. Cosplayers took over corners to help new friends pin that one stitch that refused to stay. Creators in the artist’s alley watched each other’s booths so that they could sneak away for just a moment to grab a quick bite to eat. Vendors of all kinds laughed with each other across the walkway about their favorite parts of Robert Pattinson’s The Batman, while folks in the panel room shared tired smiles at the end of the day.
One sentiment shared by everyone (and I do mean everyone) that I spoke to: they were all just happy to be there. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic upending all forms of life over the last two years, and nearly ending most forms of live entertainment and social gatherings, everyone agreed that it was just nice to finally be back and around friends new and old after two years away.
“Being around our own kind,” said Kayla of Magic Merch Designs. “Nerds; our people. Meeting people, not working, those sorts of things. Just being able to nerd out with people, for sure.”
“We came to GalaxyCon two years ago,” echoed Gene Willoughby II, who was there to promote his graphic novel series, The Sunstroms. “When we saw it was coming back, we decided to come back. We had a great time and had to come back. I’m looking forward to seeing all of the cosplay for one, and sharing my novels, sharing my comics, my artwork. That’s what we’ve come out to do.”
What would a convention be without a good cosplay contest? Everyone was itching to bring their best after two years away and it showed. From original characters to Star Wars and various Studio Ghibli fare, to being practically dominated by everyone from the anime Demon Slayer, both the most novice cosplayers and seasoned vets brought their A-Game to the contest.
And before you ask: yes, Big Bird absolutely won the show. As the king of Sesame Street should.
After a long day of hanging in the exhibition hall, catching various panels and workshops, and enjoying the cosplay contest, it was time to celebrate with a good party. Attendees had quite a few options to choose from: a YouTube deep dive, letting off steam with some karaoke, and what this writer will argue was the best option: Dana Snyder and Guy Hutchinson’s Drunk on Disney party.
From the finest of pizza and wings to the Drunk On Disney signature cocktail, guests of the event were presented with plentiful refreshments as they relaxed at the end of a packed day. Meanwhile, hosts Dana Snyder and Guy Hutchinson hosted a fun contest, making all of us laugh as they bounced jokes off of not only each other but two special celebrity guests: AEW Wrestler Leva “The Librarian” Bates, and GalaxyCon owner Mike Brody.
To sum it all up, if you missed out on this year’s convention, you definitely missed the fandom gathering of the year. After two years away, everyone made sure that 2022’s event went off without a hitch. We had to! Because honestly, we really missed each other.
If you missed this year’s GalaxyCon, GalaxyCon Richmond will return to the Greater Richmond Convention Center in 2023, March 24th through 26th. However, if you don’t want to wait that long and you’re willing to journey down south, GalaxyCon will come to Raleigh, NC in a few months, July 28th through 31st at the Raleigh Convention Center. For more information on both of these events, visit GalaxyCon.com.
All photos by Ash Griffith