[Katsu ’22] On a Roll

Katsucon 2022 took place in National Harbor, Maryland from February 18 to February 20. I traveled to Katsucon during the afternoon of February 17. Many people who attend Katsucon go to the con on “Day Zero,” the day before the con officially starts. On Day Zero, there’s badge pickup. As usual, it’s quite the LineCon for anyone who goes to pick up their pre-registration badge at Katsucon. There was a really long line that wrapped back and forth outside the registration hall. By the time I got to Katsucon on Thursday, press registration was not available, so I had to pick up my press badge on Friday morning.

The Gaylord in National Harbor, MD is in a wonderful location! In National Harbor itself, there are many restaurants and shops within walking distance from the convention center. If you have a car or don’t mind ubering, you can also quickly get to Washington, D.C. and Virginia. Some of my friends and I had a Day Zero adventure to get K-BBQ for dinner. We went to Breakers in Fairfax, VA, and there was all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ at a very affordable price. Highly recommend this spot if you’re looking for yummy food! It’s also only a few minutes’ drive from the con. On our way back to the con, we even found a little gazebo by a gas station!


Day 1

On Day 1 of Katsucon, the first thing I wanted to do was look for press registration and pick up my badge, but I was worried about a long line, so I went to a photoshoot first since I didn’t want to be late. My roommates and I had a Fate Grand Order maids photoshoot, and luckily we didn’t shoot inside the convention area so I didn’t need a badge yet. It was really cold outside, so we shot indoors in a room on the gazebo level so it wasn’t a part of the convention. After shooting, I went on the hunt for press registration, and was glad that staff had the press badges. There was a short line to pick my badge up.

I scouted out the convention area, and Katsucon felt quite crowded. I can’t exactly recall if the crowds were the same as pre-pandemic, but it definitely felt the same and like the “new normal.” The only difference is everyone is wearing masks. At the con, the mask policy was enforced which gave me peace of mind. Only took off my mask if I was actively eating or drinking.

Since I was a model in the fashion show, I had rehearsal on Friday evening and changed to casual clothes to make it easier for the fitting. The fitting and rehearsal was straightforward, and even though the stage didn’t have a catwalk, we made do with the situation and made the best of it! I modeled for Sweet Mildred, and was thrilled to have this opportunity. Her new line was old school inspired lolita, in beautiful tartan fabrics. I requested a red tartan one, and was lucky enough to be able to model one in my favorite color! To be honest, I didn’t have any lunch or dinner on Day 1 (just snack food). It was a really busy day.


Day 2

On Day 2, I went to the Genshin Impact meetup as Maid Xiangling (with the Staff of Homra!). It was outdoors, and there were a ton of people. Throughout the whole weekend, I saw a lot of Genshin Impact cosplays — pretty sure this was the most popular fandom of this year’s con! It was freezing and super windy outside, so I didn’t stay for the whole meetup. I think I lasted about 15 minutes.

My friend Sarah and I wanted to eat a proper meal since we weren’t able to on Day 1, so before the fashion show, we changed to casual outfits and grabbed dinner in National Harbor. We went to The Walrus Oyster & Ale House, and they had amazing food! I tried some local oysters, and Sarah and I split onion rings. We also split a steak and crab cake combo. With full bellies, we returned to the con for the fashion show!

Backstage, we got into our outfits and rehearsed some more for the show. When the show started, it flew by quickly! After the show ended, designers took photos and videos of the models for social media, and then models got first dibs on purchasing fashion show items. If models didn’t purchase the fashion show samples, then these would go on sale in the dealer’s room for Sunday. I didn’t buy my outfit, but I did buy a white hat from Sweet Mildred! I can’t wait to coord this hat. The designers also gave the models little goodie bags, which was really sweet.

After the fashion show, I changed into cosplay again since my roommate Jaimee had changed into Maid Beidou so it made sense that I change into Maid Xiangling again. We were able to snag some late night pics at the infamous Katsucon Gazebo! After this, we went to the rooftop bar. I’ve never been here before, and was impressed! It was an adorable 1980s theme, and there were lots of cosplayers here. Of course, the bar is 21+ so be sure to bring your ID if you go. They check IDs at the elevator to go up, and the elevator is located near the main entrance of the hotel lobby. At the bar itself, there’s also an outdoor area where you can see beautiful views of National Harbor. I went out briefly, but since it was very cold, I quickly went back indoors.


Day 3

On Day 3, the last day of Katsucon, I cosplayed as Bunny Miku from Vocaloid. On this last day, I tried to say hi to people I hadn’t been able to meet up with yet. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find everyone. The reception at the convention was hit or miss, so this made it difficult to reach people in real time.

Sarah and I also had a wild adventure trying to find the bag check… That was quite stressful. When we checked out of the hotel, the staff at the front desk told us we had to go to Maryland Ballroom at the convention center for bag check. We lugged all our stuff all the way there, and there was nothing there. And then we asked people and no one had any idea where it was or they were sending us around randomly. Finally, we got escorted and the bag check was literally right next to the front desk we started at. A funny memory from this though is someone mistook me for Yaya Han. Yaya Han was attending Katsucon this year, but I have no idea why someone thought I was Yaya. We look nothing alike! We also didn’t cosplay the same characters this weekend.

Before the end of the con, I went to both the Dealer’s Hall and the Artist Alley. When the Artist Alley was close to closing, many artists were offering discounts and sales at their booths. I got some good deals at Mintandapple! After shopping, I changed out of cosplay and into casual clothes, including the bunny sweater I got from Mintandapple. And then, it was off to Washington D.C. to catch the train home!

Con Report by Pearl Peony
IG: @pearlpeony
Tumblr: @xiaorawr
Twitter: @treizemacarons


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