Capes, fantasy & fun


For his first-ever visit to the Seymour library, Christopher Deere made quite an impression.

Dressed in denim overalls, a red shirt and cap, white gloves and a perfect mustache, Deere was easily recognized as Mario from the iconic Super Mario Brothers video games.

He was so popular, people requested to have their picture taken with him.

Deere was one of more than 250 people, both kids and adults, who took part in the library’s inaugural MINICON event Saturday.

MINICON was a smaller version of conventions like Comicon in San Diego and Gen Con in Indianapolis that bring people together to celebrate similar interests in comic books, video and role-playing games and cosplay, the act of dressing up as a favorite character.

“I never knew there were so many nerds in Seymour like me,” Deere said.

The day-long event featured a little bit of something for everyone.

There were computers set up for kids to play Minecraft, a “selfie” scavenger hunt, Dance Dance Revolution tournament, sessions of Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons role-playing games, a monster makeup demonstration, Yu-Gi-Oh! and a costume/cosplay contest.

Young children even got the chance to become an official superhero at the Superhero Academy.

Library staff set up crafts and activities for kids to demonstrate their superhero powers.

Four-year-old Jude Hildreth of Seymour came prepared wearing a cape as Super Grover from Sesame Street. But a superhero can never be too prepared, so he made a second cape and mask, just in case.

He then completed an obstacle course, where he crawled through a Spider-Man cave, jumped through a ring of fire, crossed a lava pit, made it through a kryptonite maze and got his picture taken soaring above skyscrapers.

Hildreth said being a superhero is an important job — one he takes seriously.

“Superheroes get to save the day,” he said.

Kathe McIntosh, library youth services assistant, said she was pleased with how the event turned out and with the crowd throughout the day.

“It’s been steady, not too overwhelming,” she said. “We’re having a lot of fun.”

To get into character, McIntosh dressed as Wonder Woman, complete with her lasso of truth.

“I used to watch her on TV as a kid,” McIntosh said.

Lola Snyder, director of youth services, came dressed as Bellatrix LaStrange from the Harry Potter series.

But after just a couple of hours, Snyder said she had to ditch her pointy toed, heeled shoes.

Getting to dress up and seeing everyone else in their costumes was her favorite part of the day, she said.

She also loved Storytime With Batman, where a volunteer dressed up and read to kids using the gruff, Batman voice.

“It was great. We had about 26 kids here for that, and Batman did a good job of staying in character,” Snyder said.

MINICON was such a success, she said, because people enjoy the fantasy of it all.

“It’s fun to get to dress up and be someone else for a little while,” she said.

Emma Riley, 11, of Seymour, is a big fan of anime, a style of Japanese film and television animation and manga, a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels, even drawing her own.

She came to MINICON dressed as a character from one of her favorite manga series about ninjas called “Naruto.”

“This is really cool because most people can’t afford to go to a big convention and this gives us an opportunity to meet other people who like the same thing,” she said.

Riley said she had fun doing the scavenger hunt and watching the zombie makeup demonstration by Seymour’s Fear Fair haunted attraction. She also participated in the costume contest.

Brooklynn Lacey, 7, of Seymour, dressed as Pinkie Pie, the pink pony from the new My Little Pony animated series, for the contest.

Lacey wasn’t the only one in her family who enjoyed MINICON.

“I’m a graphic novel nerd,” said Erin Meadors, her mom. “It’s something we got into a few years ago and she likes it too. I like how you can put yourself in the story, and it’s something we can do as a family.”

They’ve even been to Comic-Con, Meadors said.

But Brooklynn said she likes video games, like Minecraft, better.

Although Shawna Jones of Seymour wasn’t really sure what a MINICON was and doesn’t get into comic books or superheroes, she didn’t mind taking her kids to the event.

Her 14-year-old daughter, Jessica Jones, donned a Batman T-shirt for the occasion.

“I like Batman because he does everything at night and tries to stay hidden,” she said. “He also has some really cool gadgets.”

Jessica said she had never heard of a MINICON event before, either, but thought it was pretty cool there was so much to do.

They even got their pictures taken with a group of Star Wars cosplay characters from the Bloodfin Garrison group.

When it was time to leave, Jessica checked out a graphic novel from “The Walking Dead” series to keep her entertained at home.

Even though the MINICON event paired perfectly with this year’s summer reading program theme of “Every Superhero Has a Story,” Snyder said she plans to make it an annual summer event regardless.

“We are definitely going to do it again,” she said.

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