We woke up at the crack of dawn to take the train to Manhattan. Donned with sparkles and glitter we boarded the train the Drag Queen utopia we have visited for the past two years.
DragCon is the place on the east coast that queens and fans unite to celebrate the beauty of living your best life. You have the opportunity to meet Queens that you have seen on tv, heard about, or know from your local community. It focuses on individuality and the beauty that brings to this world. (I also had a real life, non drag, celebrity sighting…NIEL PATRICK HARRIS!!!!)
This particular trip to DragCon was both calm and crazy at once. For the first time in a while we didn’t have anything we HAD to do, only things we WANTED to do. We wandered the booths finding small companies selling their wears, large companies handing out samples, and fabulous queens who literally welcomed us with open arms.
As fans of Drag coming at the end of a busy weekend I hardly expected anyone to care. Not because they DIDN’T care but they must be exhausted from meeting a bunch of people they didn’t know who, through the magic of tv and social media, feel like they know them. How wrong I was. We walked towards Ongina and she waved at us. I wasn’t sure if she, by some miracle, she remembered us from last year or just being friendly because there were kids.
“Nice to see you!” she said. Okay, this could still be cordial greetings. “I can’t remember your names.” Confirmation, she remembered the kids! I imagine that there aren’t a huge amount of kids and Simon was wearing the same wig as last year. She took pictures with them making funny faces, chatted with us and there were hugs. She made the kids’ day and also mine.
The other experience that really stood out was with Vanessa Vanjie. Maya begged to wait in her line which was rather long. Just as we got to the front of the line Vanjie was called to “Ru Duty” which took her away from the booth. What are you going to do, she had no control so I let the kids walk within eyesight to peek at the other queens’ booths around us. (Which totally scored them some free photos with other queens!) As we patiently waited for her to come back, Vanjie’s Mom who was working the merch store, was chatting with us. “I know her, she want’s to be with her fans, she has no control of this.” I figured that and assured her that it was all part of the experience. I mean there are some things you don’t have control over!
When Vanjie came back she got down on the kids’ level and chatted with them. Then her Mom gave the kids stickers and we got pictures. The looks on their faces told me the wait was worth it.
At four pm the lights went out on DragCon. We were tired but we wanted more. We started walking out when we realized that when the queens broke down their booths there was a “red carpet” of queens half out of drag, half still dressed up leaving the convention hall. We didn’t ask for photos but we found ourselves three chairs and sat for TWO HOURS looking for familiar faces and waving. No pictures just experiences. It was like our own private runway and our opportunity to get a glimpse (and sometimes a wave) from some of the queens we didn’t get to meet.
When Ongina came out Simon and Maya got to say hello one more time. She gave them hugs and they went back to their perches. It was two hours of magic. No electronics, just conversation and mystery of who we might see next.
I will take my kid to DragCon every single year they want to go. It’s these experiences that embody what I thought parenting would be like. Living in the moment and making memories that will last a lifetime. Also LOTS of sparkles.