The Cosplay Costume Contest is one of the larger events at Pensacon. There are many cosplay characters visiting throughout Pensacon. Some rise to the challenge of the costume contest. This year the contest was held at the Saenger Theater. The event started earlier in the day with prejudging. The categories are novice, journeymen, and masters.
I attended the prejudging of the novice division and was very impressed with the him skills, character, and the development of the costumes. I was immediately struck by the impressive "Groot" character from the Guardians of the Galaxy.
Each participant met with the panel of judges individually and answered questions about their creations. The selected costumes then went forward to the official contest later that night, also at the Saenger.
I spoke with Groot (Darrin Trapani) following the pre-judging. Darren is a Pensacola resident and works as a maritime captain. Darrin loves the excitement of Pensacon and what it does for our community. Darrin was here two years ago and was inspired by the array of characters and costumes. While watching Guardians of the Galaxy he started thinking the he was crazy to not try building Groot. "I just started playing around the idea with the head and once I got that sort of go-ahead for me, I was off and about about four weeks later I was 95% complete," Darrin said. He has been tweaking it since then.
Most of the real Oak Bark and other natural materials came from his yard. He has a microphone inside the face and a speaker in the head, so he can talk with people while his is walking around.
"Being a character at Pensacon is like being a character at Disney World." People are constantly coming up and asking for photographs, examining your work, and treating you like a celebrity. "The whole experience has been fantastic," Darrin said.
Later that night, Groot, "Darrin", went on to win the journeymen division in the Pensacon Cosplay Costume Contest.
I asked Darrin what he likes about Pensacon compared to Dragoncon and other large conventions. He said that Pensacon stands out for its community involvement and support. "It is amazing how the local restaurants and city and people come out to support Pensacon." He said.
So what is Groot? Groot is an extraterrestrial, sentient tree-like creature, and the monarch of Planet X. He is a founding member of Star-Lords Guardians of the Galaxy, and is known for his longtime friendship with Rocket Raccoon.
By: David A. Carroll
For: Pensacola and The Appleyard Agency