On Memorial Day weekend, my family packed up our young girls and headed downtown to check out MomoCon for the first time. MomoCon is a convention primarily known as an "anime" convention from its origins at Georgia Tech, but now it caters to all fans of anime, gaming, comics, costuming, and animation. The convention takes place over four days every year at the Georgia World Congress Center in Downtown Atlanta.
The convention is a wonderful size. 2017 welcomed over 30,000 attendees. A large number, but significantly less than the gargantuan crowds that another popular con I could name that also happens in Downtown Atlanta. Along with the reasonably sized crowds, the event is primarily located within one facility that allowed accessibility of strollers and didn't require much outside walking other from potentially walking to the parking areas. Multiple well-known guests are hosted along with a massive dealers room, artist alley, and fan group tables. There was also a huge gaming area hosting everything from role playing and board games to virtual reality and arcade gaming. The con is both small enough that the crowds are not overwhelming, yet large enough to have plenty to do and something to hold many people's interests.
In addition, the convention is very family friendly. We were among many other attendees with children of all ages, including infants. There are plenty of things to do with children, and there were plenty of families like us who brought their children to enjoy the weekend. As the convention caters to both Japanese and American animation, plenty of costumers who came dressed as beloved Disney characters and princesses, star wars characters, video game characters and other popular animated movie characters.
As an introvert with social anxiety, I was very interested to note there was a room set aside for people who might be overwhelmed and/or facing things like anxiety and depression. This space was run by a non profit organization called Take This, and along with a safe space, they also had professionals available to assist people facing mental illness that needed help. This organization seeks to remove some of the social stigma surrounding mental illness and make it easier for people to seek help for one of the most common public health issues people face.
Let's talk Cosplay! Cosplay was quite popular there. Many people at the convention chose to dress in various costumes. Star Wars costumes were out in “force.” Even more so as both the 501st and the Rebel Legion were present in the dealer's exhibition area. We caught a variety of costumes for pictures. Additionally, there were Star Wars backdrops provided for con-goers to take pictures in. We took our pictures playing in the model trash compactor, an action figure box, and the ventilation shaft of the Death Star.
We enjoyed seeing all the cosplay. Anime characters mingled with video game characters, American animation films, and even some unique cosplay choices, such as the “Mr. Bucket” cosplayer who shot real playground balls from his mouth just like the children's toy. My impression was that the most popular cosplay, aside from Star Wars, might have been characters from Disney's Moana. It seemed as if every time I turned around I saw Maui, Moana, and even some dressed as Te Fiti.
Another fun event was the Fan Car Showcase. There was a really large area in the exhibition hall dedicated to fan made car replicas from various fandoms. We had a great time looking at replica vehicles from Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Batman, and Supernatural. Some cars required you to pay to photograph or be photographed with them, bu we were able to catch a snap of some!
There was also a large grouping of tables where you could talk with prop makers, Maker/Geekspaces, and dedicated cosplayers.
One feature in the dealer's room that you could not miss was the giant inflatable Lego mini figure that was several stories tall! The figure was so large, as an adult my head barely reached the figure's hand and it was a great place to take a picture. Next to this of course, was a booth selling a variety of Lego mini figures and other pieces.
Aside from the dealer's room, there was an entire room set aside for Lego building activities. Large bins full of Legos were available to build to your heart's content. Purchase was an option if you wanted to take home your creation or just grab some pieces you'd like to take home.
We really enjoyed hanging around the gaming area. There was board gaming tables, a large LAN gaming area, LARPs going the entire weekend, and (our favorite) the large area of arcade cabinets, pinball machines and various arcade games provided playable for free!
Our family had a blast at this convention, and I would recommend it for families, because animation focus is something most families can enjoy together and there was plenty to entertain everyone.