CloverCon 2017: The Little Con that Kicks Big Butt

Once more I, Mako-chan, get to tell you of how great a con CloverCon is.  Taking place on Sunday May 21st in Bridgewater, NJ, the AJS crew decided to get an early start on festivities, and instead of traveling up that morning, we got a room for the night before.

Let me tell you, the difference is amazing.  I love my sleep, as do the others on staff, and the last few years we had gathered at the closet staff home to hang out the night before and then head to the con.  As great as that is, having to drive an hour and a half after little sleep due to hanging out is a pain.

I completely recommend this idea.  Gather some friends, find a cheap hotel in the area (of which there are PLENTY in a twenty-minute radius of the con) and have fun!

The con itself is always a treat.  We were able to get to the con minutes after opening, which was both good and bad.  Good because we could scope everything out without much of a crowd, bad because most of the vendors and artists were still in the middle of setting up.  I hadn’t seen that issue in past years, but again, we had never made it to the con just that early either.  However, I will say it worked out for some vendors.  One I had my eye on, I was repeatedly going into her booth setup because every time I passed I saw more things I wanted!  It was constantly changing because she was constantly pulling more and more goodies out of boxes.

I also applaud the con for making the secured wifi for the vendors and staff use.  I was perfectly fine not being able to use my phone in the building, but it was so nice that I was able to make purchases from the vendors with no issues, no matter where they were in the gyms set up.

Also in this area to start the day was a small Circus Skill Workshop.  I think more people just wanted to watch the balancing and juggling instead of actually participating, but it looked fun, non the less.

I had completely forgotten to pull more money out of the ATM before arriving, so I was unable to participate in the silent auction.  The items for auction this year were once more amazing donations from various groups, troupes, and vendors.  There were a few items I was disappointed I missed out on!

After getting acquainted with the vendor hall, I peeked into the video room for a bit of Sailor Moon Crystal before heading to the Pokémon Party Panel.  Michele Knots and Chris Smith put on a fun, entertaining, and educational Pokémon themed panel that allows for audience participation while playing various games and just being generally silly and entertaining.

After that I stopped for a snack at the stand the Chinese Culture Club was running.  Homemade Lo-Mein and fried rice on top of staples such as hot dogs and pizza.  The fried rice was great, with fresh ingredients and was very flavorful, and to drink, bubble tea.  It too was well done and a very popular item all day.

Soon after it was time for the Cosplay Catwalk.  This year, competition was broken down by age group, where in years before, everyone was grouped together.  This made for a much easier and quicker catwalk, and allowed those participating to relax before and after their walk on.  My only issue with this is that after each group went, the judges selected certain people to come back and answer questions about their cosplay.  This alerted me at least that those would be the people in the running for awards.  I hope that the signs up next year have a place in the actual form to answer some of the basics about the costumes so that it doesn’t hold the judges up, but also doesn’t give away the winners early.  Other than that, I’m super impressed from where this has come from the first year I watch it.  While I missed the very first CloverCon, I’ve been to almost all the others (except for that pesky year that I went to Colorado instead) and this event has grown so much.  It’s nice to see the evolution and changes year to year to allow the larger and larger group that wants to participate actually be able to fit into the ever-shrinking area given over to the Catwalk (the amazing growth of vendors in the hall is due to this and its great to see how well this con is doing!)

I ended the day roaming the building, popping into the Poképalooza panel and autographs from Michele and James Carter Cathcart.  Popped into the manga library for a little bit to find quite a few people in the room reading.  The selection of manga on hand was plentiful and diverse, and the atmosphere was just right to sit and relax with a good comic. I didn’t venture up to the game area at all, though I know the other AJS staffers made use of the area.

I also ventured outside.  There was amazing weather for this weekend.  Many times, it’s either humid or crazy rainy, so it was nice to have a beautiful day where everyone could take advantage of the space.  All through the day there was activities going on outside including a volleyball net that had plenty of action.  I think next year, as come cons have cosplay chess, there should be a cosplay volleyball contest.  Everyone has to play in character, the crazier the better.  It’s something I would definitely enjoy watching.

Overall, I freaking love this con.  It’s amazing to watch them grow, evolve, and become bigger and better year after year.  I will always recommend this con.  Support your community, especially when they bust their butts to bring you amazing cons and ask for so little in return!


Mako-chan isn’t just a writer and co-host… She’s also the resident baker and chef of all things yummy. Mako-chan has been working behind the scenes helping out where she can for the Podcast. Officially joining the team in November of 2011, first as a writer and editor, and later as an on air personality for the show, and now Assistant Editor, Mako-chan embraces the five main sureties in life that make a person great; Beauty, Intelligence, Talent, Creativity, and Honesty. ^_~

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