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Taking your kid to AwesomeCon

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Convention season is just getting started. Yes, it’s a nerd-haven of discounted comics and hard to find toys. Throw in some celebrities and tons of like-minded fans dressing up in Cosplay, and hitting a convention can be a rewarding experience. But what about the little ones, you ask. I’ve actually found my convention experience has been upgraded since my son has been old enough to join me. We just hit DC’s AwesomeCon two days in a row earlier this month and I want to tell you how it went down taking a kid to a convention.

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At AwesomeCon there was a full slate of kids activities in their KidsZone. We attended two of them. All of the activities were free, and the ones we went to were great for kids under the age of 10. (There were a few that said they were up for kids aged 12). My son and his friends enjoyed SuperHero University where they were lead through the process of identifying what makes a hero, and how to invent their own superhero. Here’s the rub, this particular event was limited to the first 30 kids. We had a group of four kids, and we struggled to try and get them sitting near each other, and they couldn’t. I told my son they were so strict on attendance because you get a cape and mask to help realize your superhero and supplies were limited. Then the session ended. My son was pretty ticked he didn’t get a cape or mask, and I was perturbed that they were so strict on the seats, when there were no limited materials. It wouldn’t have hurt to let in one or two more kids, or let the friends sit next to each other. Either way, I’m glad the convention included free activities for the kids. It helped break up the day patrolling the dealer floor a bit, and provided something that seemed just for them. I recommend checking out the kids’ activities, but do not re-arrange your schedule to get to them.

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The most exciting part of the day was arguably the kids getting to meet R2-D2. The Capital Area R2 Builders club (R2DC.com) was on hand with a few quite operational remote control R2 units bustling around. They local 501st Legion (Old Line Garrison) provided Imperial forces (including the new Stormtroopers from Force Awakens) you could take photos with. There was also representation from the local chapter of the Rebellion (Terrapin Base), and some rogues from the Mandalorian Mercs were also available for pics.

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But the only thing that topped that was the NERF shooting gallery. For a few dollars (all going to charity), you get to take several shots at the villians with a NERF gun. They were taunting the young sharpshooters, and reacting/falling down appropriately. It was a lot of fun, and for a good cause. The blockade runner backdrop was a great touch.

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I loved seeing the themed families in costumes. This Power Ranger family was in line to meet most of the original cast that was on hand for autographs. I also saw some Justice League styled families, Walking Dead clans, and video game horde groups walking around. This year my son and I dressed as Chunk and Sloth from Goonies. We wanted to get a pic with Sean Astin, but he didn’t accept Baby Ruth as payment.

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Another fun event to take the kids to was the costume contest. This was the main event contest on Saturday. There were some very impressive costumes, and the cosplayers really got to show off their handiwork. There is a separate contest for kids if they want to get into the competitive spirit, but my son and his friends loved watching the parade of high-end costumes go across the stage. We spied this amazing Baymax at the contest, but they didn’t compete.

Of all the comic-cons and pop culture events I’ve been to over the last 20 years, Awesome Con is the absolute best for bringing the family. There’s plenty to see and do, and buy. It was very easy to get to, it wasn’t too crowded (or embarrassingly dead). We even successfully attended two days in a row. Our favorite acquisition was the box of unopened 2014 Garbage Pail Kids. We’ve been saving them though, opening only one every few days. It’s great to have something to spread out.

Keep an eye on Awesome-Con.com about guests, times and tickets for 2016. See you then!

2015 Awesome Con

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