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Dandy Con proves that a home-grown con can hang with the best of them!

The City of Greater Dandenong managed to achieve quite a feat over the weekend,  hosting it’s own geek culture con for the first time. Dubbed Dandy Con, the event was the city’s attempt to break into comic, gaming and movie culture especially for it’s locals; so how did it go?

Dandy Con is an event that was born from the work of Dandenong’s FReeZA initiative, where young Victorians can help find fun new ways to engage the community, often through events that are intended for all to enjoy. As such, a con seemed like a fantastic way in which to reach out to a large group of people, who could then have fun, engage in their interests, and meet others who like the same things!

These ladies attended Dandy Con as Hogwarts professors!

A few of the competitors in the cosplay contest. The Snape stayed in-character the whole time (Umbridge, thankfully, did not)

Dandy Con: Fun for the whole family. Yep, even the gay cousin

To that end, Dandy Con managed to differ from most cons in a few small but important ways.

  • For one, the event was free to all who wished to attend. No registration was required and there were no tickets; if you wanted to check it out, you could stay as long as you liked!
  • Secondly, and this is especially worth noting due to the recent controversies in other cons, the event was explicitly all-inclusive. There was a code of conduct that ensured that the event was free of bullying, bigotry or hate-speech. When they said everyone was welcome, they meant it.
  • Finally, the event was held in Dandenong itself rather than a convention center, which meant that matters like travel and parking were much simpler. Harmony Square, which is where Dandy Con was held, is right in the middle of the town, so the visibility and accessibility of the con were high.

Overall, Dandy Con stood out from most cons thanks to it’s strong efforts regarding inclusivity and accessibility. There were as few barriers to attendance as possible, and all facets of geek culture were being celebrated, so there was something for everyone at the con.

A professional cosplayer who performed at Dandy Con

Take a guess what she’s singing here

So much to do, so much to see!

Now, with all this being said how was the actual event?

It was brilliant.

The City of Dandenong did NOT hold back when it came to entertainment. There were a number of professional cosplayers in attendance who ran live shows for the children, such as a Batman who taught them to punch and kick villains, whilst also learning how to do “the voice.” All safely of course. The only danger here would require a lozenge or two.

Then there were the Disney cosplayers who sang songs with the crowd, such as Elsa and Moana. They of course stuck around for photos and mingled with everyone, to the delight of countless kids.

There was also a cosplay contest for young and old, allowing locals to show off their skill with costume design and acting. Light Yagami managed to give Supergirl a heart-attack with his Death Note, amongst other highlights. Everyone had a great time, on-stage and off.

Even the down-times became opportunities for Dandy locals to express themselves. An interval turned into an impromptu dance-off, with anime characters replicating Fortnite dances, disco moves a plenty, and the host beat-boxing!

Also worth noting was the presence of many local indie creators, who were given a chance to display (and hopefully sell) their works. There was room for all at the con, with Justice League comics selling alongside zines and art prints.

Some more attendees, standing before a provided backdrop

That R2-D2 could actually drive around and talk!

So, what now?

Overall, it seems safe to say that the event was a huge success. The organisers have expressed their joy and gratitude to the attendees on the event’s official Facebook page,  and they’re already dropping hints of a return next year! With any luck, this fresh-faced con designed for all to enjoy will stick around, and if we’re really lucky, we may see other towns and cities adopting their own inclusive events! Spring Con anyone? Knox Con?

Oh and yeah, I totally went in costume. Anyone wanna guess who I went as? Here’s a hint 😉