Central Illinois Con, better known as CIL-Con, was attended by Cosplay Café baristas Kelly and Crayle this year, and it was a convention for the books.
Literally, because Cosplay Café Barista Kelly was there selling her superhero novels, Scorcher and Thin Ice. (Get your own signed author copies here!)
It was her first time manning a table (mostly) by herself, but she represented both the network and her books simultaneously with aplomb.
Over a dozen cosplayers took photos with their Cosplay Café merch, and many more people said they would love to tune in to the show! (For more information about the Cosplay Café podcast, part of the Cereal Box Network, visit the official Cosplay Café linktree.)
Below is a small selection of cosplayers who participated.
Meanwhile, Crayle was next door, vending (in full cosplay most of the time!) for her business, Pokeballs by Crayle.
She and Kelly also ran multiple panels between the two of them, including: The History of Comics and Propaganda, Cosplay 101, and Cosplay on a budget.
But perhaps most excitingly, they were two of the three judges for the cosplay contest, along with Victory Born Cosplay!
So many amazing cosplayers participated that choosing winners was incredibly difficult. But they pushed through, and chose several talented crafters and performers, while still making sure to thank everyone who participated.
We had two honorable mentions for outstanding performances:
Freddy Kruger and Sith Leia
Here are the adult (16+) winners:
3rd Place - Valik from The Conjuring
2nd Place - Bard from Genshin Impact
1st Place – Maleficent
And here are the Kids (10-15) winners
3rd Place - Fairy Librarian (original character)
2nd Place - Sonic the Hedgehog
1st Place - Wendigo from Until Dawn
All of the kids under 10 were winners though!
There were also several great celebrities there.
Crayle and Kelly happened to be right across from Santiago Cirilo though, of The Walking Dead!
The three of them shared a few laughs, talked about mental health, and took photos of their nerdy tattoos together.
So basically, they’ll all be friends forever now.
And in general, this convention had some of the most accessible and friendly celebrity guests ever.
As cosplay guests, our Cosplay Baristas’ finale costumes were Kelly as Batgirl, and Crayle as Lagertha from Vikings.
Check out these short videos showing off their costumes in all their glory!
Here is Kelly's Batgirl:
@phoenixsiscosplay Batgirl at #Cil-Con #Batgirl #dccomics ♬ The Batman Theme - Danny Elfman
And here is Crayle's Lagertha:
@phoenixsiscosplay Crayle's Lagertha #cosplay from #VIKINGS ♬ Vikings - The Main Title Theme - TV Themes
The most unique part of the con was that they had a zombie themed escape room!
It was hosted by Phoenix Rising, LLC: Immersive Entertainment. Considering that Kelly and Crayle’s cosplay duo name is Phoenix Sisters Cosplay, that seemed like fate.
The goal was to shoot actors with amazing zombie make up with Nerf guns. It was too dark inside for photos (which added to the atmosphere!), but we do have this photo of Sarah, who owns the company.
Kelly and Crayle did not “survive” the escape room, unfortunately, but they did take a few zombie actors down with them. Kelly even did it while wearing a dress!
Overall, it was a wonderful convention, and the baristas are planning on going back next year. Maybe their third partner Andrea will be able to join then too. Who knows?