Walking in a Wynter Wonderland - WynterCon 2021
Updated: Feb 18
We have spent all year looking forward to this one, mainly because we love WynterCon a little bit. So, we got ourselves together and managed to get away on time, avoid traffic jams and get there on time to get ourselves set up and ready to roll. I have to admit I was wrong-footed, something always goes wrong whenever we leave for an event but nothing yet….
The Winter Gardens in Eastbourne is the home of WynterCon, hence the name. The con has been on the road itself, even ending up in a circus big top, which I have to admit is pretty cool, now it is back where it all started. The venue is impressive, a glorious Victorian theatre that has just been restored to its original splendour, with massive domed ceilings festooned with golden plasterwork and newly laid oak flooring to die for. The building has been extended with a further two halls which are large and very modern looking, in stark contrast to the original building. While we were there, these rooms hosted a number of cosplay groups and a gaming hall.
With Brambledown installed we headed back to the hotel and got ready to go out for an evening meal with friends, which was a rather lovely affair and still nothing had gone wrong….
Breakfast at the hotel was a treat as the majority of traders and cosplayers were in the same place and we were greeted like Norm from Cheers (look it up, it’s an 80s reference) which was bloody lovely! So, with a heart full of joy and a belly full of breakfast we set off for our first day at the con!
We have been to WynterCon four times now and because of that we know a number of the local traders, the crew and the visitors. So the weekend was pretty much a non-stop trip down memory lane with old friends, which was lovely. Among the traders we met were the Zero Room, Chocolate Raisin Fury, Kasasagi Jewellery and Honey Badger Games. Damian from the Zero Room is an amazing digital artist, an alumni from the covers of Big Finish and his photoshop skills are bar none. Chocolate Raisin Fury, other than having a truly unique name, produces great digital art with a lovely art nouveau sensibility and a wry sense of humour. They also made my new favourite mug! Kasasagi and Honey Badger come as a pair and they both rock. Kasasagi makes gorgeous silver jewellery with a geeky twist and Honey Badger makes delicious edible dice. They are both wonderfully eccentric in their own way and create wares to entice and delight.
The cosplay contingent were wrangled by Jan and David better known as UniPool Cosplay and there were some truly breath-taking outfits, not least of which was their very own Wanda and Vision. For the cosplayers there were workshops, competitions and other activities for the whole weekend, they worked their spandex tights off!
We met a whole host of old customers and a bunch of new ones and we forced them to join in with our 11 o’clock cup of tea broadcasts, which was loads of fun. We also got to hand over some long-awaited commissions we took before the lockdown. It has made my own personal gallery much smaller but it’s great to get them where they belong, out in the wild, roaming free!
Day one was super busy and finished off with an 80’s party at a local club. It was a cracking night with ridiculous outfits and full 80s cheese ahoy! We had loads of fun even though we were completely bushed from a day’s worth of trading. The following morning it became obvious that other people had had much more fun than we did as breakfast was a much more subdued affair than the previous day.
Sunday was just as good as Saturday and we had a blast until tired and rather happy we packed up our travelling show to head home. We were helped out by the many volunteer staff, which after a day of trading was very welcome indeed. One niggle is that the design of the venue means that there is a bottleneck to load in and out. However, this was overcome by effective marshalling of the traffic. Much like every other part of the con it ran smoothly for us, suspicious eh?
WynterCon is very family friendly, even though it ran over the Halloween weekend, the cosplay gore you might expect was kept very low key. There are plenty of activities to keep kids occupied too, run by James Waterfield of Lawn of the Dead, who despite the name is not in the slightest bit spooky. We saw plenty of little ones with their own ray guns, wands and sonic screwdrivers made in the workshops. For customers there were a range of diversions, from cosplay to a smattering of guests including a genuine Black Widow; Yolanda Lynes. For traders it is a well-organised and well-attended event that is curated, so as to have a good variety of stallholders that sell things you are unlikely to find elsewhere. Overall, WynterCon is a lovely event, it’s like a big, old, friendly hug of a con!
If you thought we got away with a completely disaster free weekend, we didn’t, Pamela lost her glasses!*
(*They were returned)