June 16th, 2007
Pembroke, Massachusetts

Event Stats:
Location: Herring Run Park
Event Year: Second
Attendance: 15
Theme: "Marie Antoinette"
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Pirate Captain, Original Design
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Felicity Merriman, American Girl
Event Photos:

Photo Credits:
Christa Newman Photography

The annual Cosplay Tea Party was created by cosplayers Lolita and SakiB who wanted to host a themed cosplay social gathering outside of conventions. Following the success of the first Cosplay Tea in 2006, Lolita and SakiB decided to make the party an annual event. For their second year, the pair picked a Marie Antoinette/Rococo theme, and attendees focused on the 18th century period of clothing style as a basis for their costumes rather than volunteer for a cast list of characters as had happened the previous year. As a result, the costumes ran the gamut from period robe á la français and bouffant hairstyles to Lolita fashion to pirates and American colonial styles. The event was once again held at Herring Run Park, this time transformed into a garden of Versailles. In addition to enjoying tea and delicious treats, the party included games of dominoes, croquet, and plenty of photo sessions.

Sketch and Shiva's Event Breakdown:
Everyone had so much fun at last year’s Wonderland-themed tea party that we didn’t think twice about whether or not to attend again this year – going was a definite! Unlike last year, Shiva planned ahead for the theme, deciding to make a brand new costume specifically for the event. She had wanted to make Felicity Merriman’s blue gown from Felicity's Surprise ever since she was a little kid, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Although not French, the revolutionary-era design still fit with the other costumes being planned by the group. She also made some tea-appropriate lemon biscuits to contribute to the party treats. Sketch, meanwhile, decided to wear his original pirate costume he had made based upon art one of his fellow webcomic artists, ChiStudios, had drawn of him the summer before. He accessorized it with an eclectic assortment of prop weapons and other nautical items he had collected over the years, so when complete he was appropriately armed to the teeth.

The weather for the day couldn’t have been more perfect; the sun shone brightly but the hot, sticky heat and humidity present at last year’s event was gone, and everyone seemed more than comfortable in their fancy attire. Sketch arrived early to help set up, and by the time Shiva arrived the park was dotted by tables of petite fours and flowered tea sets. Guests, dressed in tri-corner hats and corsets, basked in the afternoon sunshine. SakiB and Lolita were dressed as an appropriately aristocratic French Duke and Duchess, while ChibiRinoa and Henry were another adorable duo as a Lolita-style Madame and Monsieur. Courtney arrived decked out as a beautiful Flower Maiden, while B-Kun and Annie took a more American Colonial look as 18th-century Patriots. Crazyflower, never one to be outdone, dressed as the Queen Marie Antoinette herself with a hairstyle to match.

We both enjoyed hanging out with everyone; Shiva especially felt more comfortable since she had gotten to know several of the guests better since last year's party. Sketch snapped photos of Courtney and Shiva while they played a few rounds of dominoes despite not being completely clear about the rules; similarly, Shiva and Crazyflower joined ChibiRinoa and Henry for a game of croquet in which they had more fun trying to determine how to play than actually playing. It remains a mystery who, if anyone, won. We also both spent some significant time sipping tea at a small table and talking with each other; other than a few AIM conversations and run-ins at Anime Boston we had yet to really talk in-depth and enjoyed getting to know each other better. Sketch even offered to give Shiva a ride to PortCon when he discovered she was going; he was hoping to continue their conversation but Shiva declined. She was grateful for the offer and wanted to talk more as well but was not quite comfortable being trapped in a car for over two hours with someone she was just getting to know.

Christa, the official photographer for the event, made the rounds borrowing everyone for their own personal shoots. Bruce O’Bryan, the photographer from last year, was unfortunately unable to make the tea party date, so Christa volunteered to fill in and did an excellent job. She was a natural posing everyone and got some amazing photos of nearly everyone in the group who wanted them. Christa went to adventurous lengths to snap the perfect shot, including balancing on rocks over running water and wading through neck-deep foliage. Shiva even got a photo of her in one of her precarious positions, balancing on a rocky crag ready to capture a bunch of adorable pics of ChibiRinoa and Henry canoodling across the stream.

Now several years into our cosplaying lives, we had become accustomed to the stares of strangers when out in public. Nevertheless, the day's gorgeous weather had attracted more locals than usual, many of whom were quite interested in our event. Several stopped to ask us about our hobby and the party itself, and we did our best to represent cosplay as what it is: a hobby that really isn't much different than anyone else's chosen pastime. Shiva, unfortunately, was unable to stay for the entire event as she had a family graduation party to attend in the late afternoon. After changing into regular clothes in her car, she went to say goodbye to the group who had absolutely no idea who she was out of costume as no one in the cosplay community outside of her Anime Boston roommates had seen her real hair. They all assumed she was another curious bystander, much to her chagrin. Sketch was the first to recognize her, but even he was blown away by how different she looked without a wig on, which Shiva thought was quite entertaining. Overall, it was another excellent outing and a fantastic way for local cosplayers to get to know each other and strengthen friendships within the community.