December 5th, 2015. Leaving the Sports Center where the inaugural Great American Comic Con Las Vegas (GACCLV) was taking place, I approached my car and saw an advertising postcard under my windshield wiper. Black, blue and a round logo with a zeppelin in the middle stating that cosplayers received a discount on drinks.
Fast forward to today, just shy of the exact date 5 years ago I walked into Millennium Fandom Bar for the first time. Some of you may know me as Chan, others as Channele, and still others as Khiq Cosplay.
I have been dressing up as anime characters since 1995 but had no idea that it was officially called "cosplay." Sailor Moon was my Halloween costume that year and, thanks to the Internet's growing popularity and a brand-new 56kbps modem, I learned what this whole new world was. My first anime convention was A-Kon 9 and I cosplayed Lime from Saber Marionette J, a popular anime at the time. Every year since, I was always working on something for cosplay. Learning, making, talking, planning. Trying, failing, succeeding, accomplishing. Winning, judging, teaching, helping.
Why is this all important? Well, it was my long and winding path to finding the Millennium Fandom Bar aka MFB in Las Vegas. I walked in that December night in a Super Sailor Moon skater dress and hair in pigtails. Linda happily took my order and I was introduced to another cosplayer named Tyler who was into armor making. Alex and I talked about cosplay and I was genuinely starstruck that the town I live in has a cosplay bar. I went back. Again and again and again. Eventually, I hosted Cosplay Workshop 101 on Thursdays. Every week there were new faces, new cosplayers, new discussions. The weekends at the bar began to look like a post-masquerade convention party and it was fantastic!
Then, it happened: what if we had a cosplay festival? Oh, man. We were psyched. Plans were made, city permits were obtained, and the now-years-forged MFB Family was hype. Alex, Tyler and I banded together to create the very first MFB Las Vegas Cosplay Festival in 2018. We had vendors, we had activities, we had food trucks. Despite the wind, we made it work and it was fantastic. We had so many cosplayers that came to share their same passion with us and held a very hard-to-judge Cosplay Masquerade. And you know what? We did it again in 2019. We had even more food trucks, even more cosplayers and even more vendors!
It was hard work for all of us - sometimes we’d have conversations late at night or need to get something done ASAP while juggling other parts of day-to-day lives - but it was more than worth it. While our ‘Vegas CosFest 2020’ has been cancelled, I have no worries that once we’re safe, we’ll make sure it’s better than ever. Seeing all the cosplayers’ passion, attendees that like to just see cosplay, and having so much positive, creative energy in one spot is truly a moment that keeps me grinning.
Vegas, CosFest will see you again soon! 💕