The second Colossalcon East indoor water party (also happens to be an anime convention) took place this past weekend from September 7-9, 2018 at the Kalahari Resorts & Convention Center in the Pocono Mountains, PA. In this report I will mostly just talk about my experiences this year and not post very many photos. If you are interested in seeing how the resort looks like in pictures you should check out last year’s report where I covered it more extensively.
Like last year I only attended the convention for one day on Saturday. As such, my first priority was to go hiking in the woods behind the Resort to find the waterfall that people kept talking about (especially since it rained all afternoon and evening). Relying on directions posted by photographer Felix Wong and by the convention staff, I made my way through the trail and found the spot. I also video recorded the trip and uploaded it to my YouTube channel in case people want a more visual instruction on how to get there. The trail is definitely muddy and rocky so you should definitely not attempt to go there in your beachwear and sandals. I knew that the waterfall was small based on people’s account of it, but it was still a little bit disappointing as to how small it was. Still, I’m sure people can come up with creative ways to get neat cosplay shots there. I know the three large dogs that belonged to a family that passed on by when I was there surely enjoyed dipping into the water. And so did Nanachi (Made in Abyss).
Back to the con, the convention center itself still inhabits a very small area and so all of the rooms (panel rooms, Dealer’s Room, etc) are still on a small scale. Hopefully the expansion to the convention center will be completed soon so that they can stretch their legs out more with additional space. The video game and arcade room was definitely more populated with machines this year so it wasn’t a sad sight like it was last year. And once again I have to give kudos to Colossalcon East for posting their schedule along with the photoshoot gathering schedule well in advance. I can’t think of any of con that posts their schedule as early as they do and I know a lot of people appreciate that in order to make plans in advance.
Speaking of schedules, Colossalcon continues to use the Grenadine Event Planner mobile app to house their schedule. I know that competition is good and all, but unfortunately this app is far inferior to the Guidebook app that most other conventions use. The interface is far too clunky to say the least. In the end, while I really hope that Colossalcon ditches this app and goes to Guidebook it really isn’t a deal breaker or anything. You just have to get used to the clunkiness. But hey, at least they have free WiFi internet there.
The main attraction of Colossalcon East of course is the waterpark. The Pocono location boasts itself as the largest indoor waterpark in America and it certainly lives up to that hype. It also has a small outdoor section as well although it was closed this weekend due to colder temperatures and rain. It’s a great place to have fun and take cosplay photos. While the normal entrance fee to the waterpark is rather steep, anyone who rented a hotel room at the resort get “free” admission with their hotel key. Also, photographers (hey, that’s me!) and anyone who just wants to walk around inside (and take photos) could just purchase a spectators pass ($15) that grants you access to the waterpark but not to any of the rides and pools (you can walk up to the pools, you just can’t go into them with a spectators pass).
Now here’s the incident that is very worrisome. I didn’t experience it firsthand as I only attended the convention on Saturday, but on Sunday the Resort staff actually kicked out the convention attendees and photographers and barred them from entering the indoor waterpark. EVERYONE. From what I’ve been able to gather from social media, the most likely cause was that some (or maybe just one very vocal one) of the “normal” guests there must have complained about the attendees being in the waterpark. Now I can understand if the Resort bans a group of rowdy or offensive people causing a ruckus. But to ban the entire convention? That’s just nuts. Even more crazy is the fact that all of the convention attendees and photographers are also paying customers who have a right to access the service that they paid for. And from what I can tell, the Resort wasn’t handing out refunds for this either.
It has to be made clear that none of this is Colossalcon East’s fault, the entirety of the blame lies with the Kalahari Resorts. However, the folks at Colossalcon East have their work cut out for them in order to sort out this mess and to ensure that the Resort will play nice in the future or else this could be a death knell for the con. People pay way too much money to attend this Resort to be treated like second-class citizens.
On that somber note, let’s end things on something more cheerful. The highlight of my night had to have been the Masquerade contest. More specifically, the ramen-eating contest during the half-time intermission. Holy crap was that hilarious. I highly recommend checking out my recording of the event on my YouTube channel (link at top of page and at the end of this article) and find the timestamp in the video description and just watch it. You won’t regret it.
Although I do have to note that it was kind of head-scratching that the con actually placed their cameraman right at the front of the stage blocking most everyone’s view of said stage. That was kind of stupid and really should be fixed next year.
In the end I had a great time and I do look forward to attending this con next year. Although I will keep my eyes peeled to see how things play out with the incident mentioned previously.
Click here to go to my Facebook Photography page where I uploaded my photos from the Persona, Blizzard Pool Party, RWBY, and My Hero Academia cosplay photoshoots.
Click here to go to my YouTube channel where I uploaded my videos of Todd Haberkorn’s Presents Voice Actor on Voice Actor panel (with Bruce Elliott and Morgan Berry), voice actress Xanthe Huynh’s Q&A panel, and the full cosplay Masquerade contest.