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Oz Xmas Comic-Con was the Christmas Miracle of 2023

Oz Xmas Comic-Con is a weekend long event held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (MCEC). This was the convention’s second Christmas themed event. I attended their debut Xmas convention last year which was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds. I was relieved to find out it was not there this year because I found the Showgrounds to be too far removed from the city, so this year's event location was perfect and only a few minute walk from the bustling atmosphere of the city.

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Oz Xmas Comic-Con is a weekend long event held at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre (MCEC). This was the convention’s second Christmas themed event. I attended their debut Xmas convention last year which was held at the Melbourne Showgrounds. I was relieved to find out it was not there this year because I found the Showgrounds to be too far removed from the city, so this year's event location was perfect and only a few minute walk from the bustling atmosphere of the city.

Sponsored by Channel 13, and brought to us by Nickelodeon and The Gladiators, a new reality show to hit Channel 13 in the new year, the event was mostly geared towards young families, however the promiscuous pinup anime figures available for sale made it an event for all ages.

Before entering the convention, I made my way to MCEC's bathroom facilities to freshen up with other con-goers who were fixing their wigs and applying last minute touch-ups to their cosplays. One thing I noted was that the flushing system of the loos were scarily high-pressured while the hand-dryers felt like a faint breeze teasing my hands. It was safe to say that I left the bathroom with semi-wet hands.

At the entry of the event was a Christmas tree and a sofa for people to take Christmas photos. Friendly volunteers led us into the convention.

The sponsorships were loud and there was nowhere to hide. Fans of Aquaman were gifted with a life-sized statue with which they could take photos with — and you could hold his trident! The new Netflix movie Rebel Moon to release on 22nd of December had its own film and makeup studio where fans could film their own fan-trailers. The line to the Rebel Moon stand was lengthy but fans wore smiles and were hyped to experience being in the movie.

As I have attended many past conventions, it’s safe to say this one was less busy. Usually, the walkways are crowded, and you can’t see what is ahead of you but this particular crowd was breezy. It was refreshing to roam more freely and not search for a pocket of air every ten minutes.

My favourite part of Oz Comic-Con is the Artist Alley. For those who don’t know, an Artist Alley is a dedicated space for local artists to showcase their talent, find lovers of their work and as well as to sell their art and merch. All the artists are friendly and love to chat with you about anything!  As Artist Alley is so diverse, there is always something for everyone and it is like love at first sight when you find that unique piece of art that you love. Even if you don’t find something, most of these artists are more than happy to create something custom for you, all you got to do is just ask.

Although there was a lack of crowd, the atmosphere was still brimming with excitement and joy. The Just Dance event was calling my friend and I to the stage—we had been practicing since the last convention to qualify for Oz Xmas Comic-Con’s famous So Yule Think You Can Dance? competition.

As we waited in line, R2-D2 came up to us and waved. He was sporting a cute little Santa hat.

My friend and I performed Bad Romance by Lady Gaga. The lady running the Just Dance stage approached my friend and asked her if she would like to enter the competition. My eyes widened and I could not contain my excitement, this was everything I dreamed of.

As we walked away, I showered my friend with accolades and we made sure for the rest of the day she was prepared to dance for her life.

Something else Oz Xmas Comic-Con is famous for is its Elf on the Shelf Photo Scavenger Hunt. The aim of the hunt is to find and take a selfie with the 12 elves scattered around the convention. Last year, my friends and I had trouble and had to ask for clues for the last two, but this year, we had a little helper.

Our eyes were peeled to every crevice of every stall, trying to find these elves, not even the volunteers knew where all twelve were. Then we heard a little kid scream.

“Guys guys, I found an elf!” A little boy with a red shirt ran towards the elf.

My friend and I looked at each other, and inconspicuously started to follow him.

“Look guys, an elf!” His cute little voice strained as he pointed towards the elf.

When he and his family left, my friend and I rushed over and took a selfie.

“That kid is smart.” I said, as the elf was hidden quite well, I honestly do not think we would have found it if it were not for him.

But he was not done yet, as my friend and I sat down near the Just Dance stage eating our lunches (home-made because food there was expensive) while we watched three military clad men with their guns dance to Taylor Swift’s I Knew You Were Trouble. Then out of nowhere, his raspy, cute voice came from behind us. We turned around and he was standing literally centimetres from us. I felt like I was meeting my favourite celebrity.

“Guys I found another elf! Come look! Guys! Look, another elf!” I held a piercing gaze to my friend.

He then ran away to show his father the elf. I kept my eyes peeled but unfortunately, the military dance number had people forming quite a large crowd and I lost track of the wise child.

Eventually we found all the elves and were rewarded with an Oz Xmas Comic-Con branded Christmas hat, a candy cane and a little ducky with a Christmas hat.

It was an hour away from the dance competition, so my friend and I watched the Lip Sync Battle where attendees of the convention performed for the crowd. We luckily got front row seats. The emcee was an Oz Comic-Con regular Davine, whose way of hyping up the crowd was getting them to say “slay”, and it worked. Davine was supportive of all the contestants and a great emcee who was able to hold the audience’s attention.

It was a diverse range of performances and once in a lifetime sights. I would never have imagined I would witness Princess Peach doing a semi-strip show on a chair whilst lip syncing to Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive. After a few more wild but speculator performances, the winners were given sashes and sent away with an invigorated slayyyy from the audience.

It was time. My friend left her seat and got numbered. This was the moment we were waiting for. The crowd was growing, Just Dance competitions were the ending event of the whole convention and were only held on Sundays. She danced and shimmied her little heart out along with three other contestants to Katy Perry’s Hot N Cold. Only two contestants could go through to the semi-final, but what got my heart pumping was the wild-card round where they chose five people from the audience to compete in the competition.

I jumped out of my chair and stared the judge right in the eye, I really wanted to dance. His eyes met mine and gave he me the nod. I beamed with joy as I climbed up on stage with four other wild-cards.

As if this day could not get better, our song to dance to was Old Town Road by Lil Nas X featuring Billy-Ray Cyrus. My favourite song, I knew all the words.

Our round finished and my friend and I waited to hear our names called. Alas, we did not make it into further rounds, but it was time for the Grand Finale and they chose the hardest song of them all, Rasputin by Boney M.

These dancers put their all into it. The passion, the energy, was unmatched. The audience clapped along. After the winner was announced, all dancers were invited on stage to dance to YMCA by The Village People to end the convention. What I found funny was as soon as it hit 4:00pm, MCEC officials boomed over the speakers and told us all to basically GTFO.

Each Comic-Con is different. Each brings its own core memories. Be warned, post-Con depression is very real. I mean where else can you witness Ash Ketchum from Pokémon drop it like it’s hot? Or a chiselled, divine looking man do the smoothest robot and craziest backflips and dance moves?

At Comic-Con is where.

But what I love about Oz Comic-Con is the pure support and joy people have for one another here. The volunteers are the backbone of these conventions. It felt like we were all friends, like we could be our true selves and celebrate what we love. That is what home feels like.

What if you don’t have anyone to go with? That’s okay! These events hold speed-friending activities so you can find your people! The Community Space is a safe and inclusive space for anyone who wants to chill or make new friends.

There was something for everyone at this year’s Oz Xmas Comic-Con including a Santa who rang his bell and wished everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Oz Comic-Con will be returning in 2024, head to their website to find out when!

 

 
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