On the Smith College campus, from April 1st to April 3rd, an awesome convention called Conbust took place! Conbust is an annual convention organized by Smith students that focuses on sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and gaming, but it also includes other aspects of geek culture such as LARPing and alternative fashion. On their website, Conbust states that "While the various realms of geekdom remain stereotypically male-dominated, ConBust is held to celebrate the work and participation of women amongst these genres.

"During the weeks leading up to this con, Conbust hosted various giveaways on their Facebook event page! I entered one of these, and I won a gift card to 25Central, a cute shop in Northampton that sells stylish clothes and cute accessories. I was really surprised that I won (since I never win these things). It was easy to pick up my prize on Friday when I picked up my badge. The nice thing about a small con is the fact that there are no lines (or at least, very short lines). Two of my friends visited me for Conbust, and it was the first time they attended the con. It took them a long time to drive here, so it was pretty late at night when we went to the con to pick up badges. Picking up our badges was stress-free, and I even bumped into a friend who I haven't seen in a long time!

On Saturday, my friends and I had a Vocaloid photoshoot in the morning. Even though it was raining, it was fun! I had to awkwardly walk around pulling up my skirt so it wouldn't drag on the ground though... I probably looked like I was doing the chicken dance half the time. It was easy to find nice backgrounds to shoot at; there are plenty of lovely places right by the con. The con building itself, Seelye Hall, is also a beautiful building! The con had a variety of panels and workshops throughout the day, and there were lots of cosplayers as well as non-cosplayers. It was a nice crowd; it wasn't too crowded for the convention location, but it was also busy and there were always things going on in the rooms and in the hallways. It also felt very safe, and it was family-friendly so there were lots of children around too.

On Saturday night, my friends and I went to our first burlesque show, the Happy Hour Burlesque! I had no idea what to expect since it was my first time attending a burlesque show, but it was really fun. One of my friends had recently turned 18, so it was her first 18+ event! Happy Hour Burlesque is a sideshow cabaret that was founded in 2009. The performers were all amazing! I was impressed by their confidence and their dancing skills. Happy Hour Burlesque's Facebook Page

After watching the show, my friends and I moved to the Campus Center for the Conbust dance, appropriately called the One Dance to Rule them All. During this dance, a huge variety of songs were played. I was happy that there was room to dance; it was not too cramped on the dance floor. There were nerdy songs like Discord by Eurobeat Brony, K-Pop songs, anime theme songs, and even modern pop songs. Most of the songs were really fun to dance to! The DJ even played a few of my requests. The dance I really jammed out to was Because I'm the Best / Roll Deep by Hyuna! I was cosplaying Hinata Shouyou (Haikyuu!!) to this dance, so it must have been amusing to see Hinata dancing to a sexy K-Pop song. At midnight, there was a cosplay contest. There were people cosplaying from comics, anime, films, and video games; I loved seeing the variety of genres represented. The contest was fun and low-key, and people could enter solo or with a group.

Saturday was definitely the busiest day of the Conbust weekend, but my roommates and I were able to get some sleep in my dorm room before starting Sunday. We were pretty groggy when we first woke up on Sunday though... I was originally going to cosplay Nagisa from Free! but was too tired so I decided to wear my Gothic Lolita coordinate all day since I had a Lolita panel in the afternoon.

On Sunday, one of the highlights was the Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630 Pike Drill. It was a really cool outdoor event where attendees could learn some history and even try out the pike drill themselves. I was wearing my poofy Classical Puppets petticoat and had a lot of stuff to hold onto, so I didn't participate in the demo. The demo was still entertaining to watch from the audience!

After the Pike Drill event, my convention roommates and I ate out in Northampton for Sunday's lunch. Another friend and someone we met at the con joined us as well, and we chose to try the Mosaic Cafe. It was extremely windy but we somehow made it to the cafe without losing anything. (At one point, I thought my wig was going to fly off my head...) The Mosaic Cafe is a cute and casual Mediterranean cafe with a lot of delicious crêpes on their menu. I had a crêpe salée with salmon that was absolutely delicious! For dessert, I shared a sweet crêpe with two other people before saying good-bye. I would definitely recommend this cafe to anyone in the area. They also serve breakfast food, sandwiches, smoothies, and more!

I had to run to my Lolita panel after lunch because I wanted to get there early to make sure the fashion show models and my co-panelist were ready. I was glad that my friends were okay with me leaving lunch early; they were still eating. After paying for my meal, I power-walked (and occasionally jogged) the way back to Seelye Hall. All of the participants for the Lolita Fashion 101 panel were there on time, and we felt ready to start but encountered technical difficulties at the beginning of the panel. My co-panelist and I couldn't get the projector to work, so I had to dash out to find Conbust staff to help. A staff-member from the Information Desk was really helpful and came to the panel room to connect the projector for us. Once our Prezi presentation was up and running, our panel ran smoothly. The fashion show models all looked lovely and I was happy we got to represent a variety of different Lolita substyles. We also got a good mix of questions at the end! Some of the audience members were members of the local Lolita community, some were interested in the fashion style but were not participants yet, and others had no idea what Lolita was. I hope I can run this panel again someday; so far, I have run this panel at Conbust 2013, Conbust 2014, and Conbust 2016.

I am not sure if I will make it back to Conbust 2017, but I really hope I can! It's a great small con, and I adore the Smith College campus. Maybe a Smith student can host me in their dorm next year!

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