The convention populace is always a mixed bag. Cosplayers, collectors, artists, gamers; it’s really an “everyone in the pool” situation. Of those people, some can be wheelchair-bound, in need of a service animal or are young children. Normally when attending conventions, including past Katsucons, I only noticed a small handful of this subset of con-goers. However, at Katsucon 2018, I was excited to see many more of those in need of a little help on the convention floors.
Katsucon 2018: More Of Everyone!
Every day I noticed a few cosplayers in wheelchairs with smiles on their faces as they asked for pictures or checked out Artist’s Alley. The service dog population seemed at an all-time high. They accompanied their owners as they checked out photo shoots or perused the dealer’s room for fun merchandise. Even more families enjoying themselves, many children dressed up as their favorite characters from Disney to Overwatch. And honestly, it was heartwarming to see.
Whether this spike in these con-goers was due to some kind of policy adjustment or just a natural happenstance with the rise in overall attendance numbers, I’m not sure. However, Katsucon does have an “accessibility” section under “registration” alerting attendees of potential accommodations should they require it.
For those attendees with accessibility challenges, we offer a quick-access Registration line and a badge ribbon that will provide line-jump access, priority seating, Gaylord handicap facility access, and other accommodations. Please don’t hesitate to notify a staffer of any additional needs you may have over the course of the weekend.
As someone who has assisted someone in a wheelchair for the duration of a convention, I know a fraction of what it is like to navigate through a crowd. I can only imagine the frustration if the location isn’t able or willing to work with you. Honestly, it was difficult at times doing it the one time I went through it. The experience gave me a new appreciation for those who are in need of better accessibility. So to see so many among the cosplayers and general attendees was a positive sign to me that Katsucon was alleviating that stress.
Knowing people who need service animals, it was great to see them in attendance. It might not have been possible for their owners to attend or enjoy the convention without them. As I spotted a few of the service animals themselves, I did notice that they all had “dog” convention badges on them. Unfortunately I could not find a specific notation on service animals on the Katsucon website. However given the sheer number of them in attendance that I spotted, Katsu was very wonderful about those guests who needed their four-legged companions.
Along for the ride at Katsucon this year were also quite a number of young children. From what I could gather, many of them were under the age of 10 or so. While it’s true that there are many out there who do not exactly enjoy the company of children, many more were cooing over adorable tikes in cosplay all weekend, including posing with them for pictures with their parent’s permission. Regardless of anyone’s stance on them generally, the adorable attendees were welcomed into the fold. As a long-time convention attendee, it was brilliant to see the next generation of nerds already in costume enjoying themselves to the fullest. Not to mention the quality family time and great memories it must provide them for years to come!
No Nerd Left Behind!
In my opinion, all conventions should try their best to adjust their regulations to include those who need additional assistance. Or perhaps to book at locations more friendly to all potential attendees, with access and regulations already in place. It would also be a great stride in the right direction to include more family-friendly activities as well. This would be great for little ones who want to begin their adventure into geekdom via conventions. Katsucon, for one, seems to already be making progress in all the right directions as far as this is concerned. These are all people who want to enjoy and partake as much as the next person. Proper accommodations should be set so they can collect, fangirl/fanboy, cosplay, and nerd out as much as anyone else. Besides, we’re all anime fans, comic buffs, and tabletop gamers anyway. No one should ever be left out!