It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
Ever have those times when you have a lot going on, and your head is just full of things to say, but you have no ability to get it all out? That’s been most of June for me. The last two weeks have been so busy that whenever I found time to sit down and write, I didn’t have the mental energy to form coherent sentences.
I started the month with a horrible sore throat and cough, spending almost two weeks very sick and miserable. Strangely, no one else in the family shared in this illness, which really puzzled me. How was my immune system the only one that failed?
Luckily, I did get better just in time for Aaron’s birthday. This year, he wanted to go to the Superman Celebration weekend in Metropolis, IL for his birthday. Neither of us had ever been to this event, and he had several online friends who would be there. So I arranged to have the kids stay at Camp Grandma and we made the six hour drive to southern Illinois to find the town with the giant 15ft Superman statue in front of the county courthouse.
Things I learned on this trip:
1. The Superman Celebration event is not quite the large, international event that we thought it would be. When the main hotel was booked full for the event, we thought that this would be a HUGE event. We worried about parking and how much it would cost.
Turns out, there’s only one hotel IN the town (not counting the casino’s hotel on the river), and parking most definitely wasn’t a problem. We stayed at the other hotel about three miles outside of the town and drove in each day. No one charged for parking, and there was plenty of it available on any street. This is a small town, with a downtown area spanning only a few blocks each direction. There were empty storefronts next to small businesses trying to stay alive.
As for the event itself, it did have some notable celebrities as guests (Dean Cain, Billy Dee Williams), but the overall feel of the celebration was more “small town street fair” instead of what we expected. It was just as easy to buy a funnel cake or a snow cone as it was to buy a Superman t-shirt. There were few vendors from outside the area, and artist booths were located right near the BMX stunt bike show and mechanical bull.
Hi, Dean Cain!
2. Southern Illinois is a lot more southern than I would have guessed. This is the same state where Chicago is located, right? I wasn’t expecting Metropolis to feel like a small southern town, although I probably should have considering it’s just across the river from Kentucky.
And when talking to people there, Aaron and I were definitely the outsiders…I mean, beyond the costumes and all. More than once, someone would smile and say to us (in a fairly thick southern accent), “You’re not from around here, are ya? I can tell by your accent.” I never knew a Columbus, Ohio “accent” could be so distinctive, but it let the others in town know that we had traveled far to be there.
Despite being different than expectations, we still had a good time that weekend and the town was welcoming. Aaron enjoyed meeting up with friends he knew from online groups and cosplaying as various superheroes. Of course, there was a Superman everywhere you looked.
He even talked me into dressing up in costume one evening, too.
Metropolis does have a couple of really interesting museums, too. One is the Superman museum, with an unheard of amount of Superman memorabilia, art, props and costumes from movies and TV shows, autographed photos, and so much more. One of the capes that Christopher Reeves used was there, along with his flying harness and wig. (I had no idea he wore a wig as Superman.) It was an amazing collection crowded into every possible corner of the small space, and I was really impressed at how many one-of-a-kind items they had on display.
I have no photos of the really cool stuff. I’m sorry to say that I was so busy looking at all of it that I forgot to take any pictures. You’ll just have to trust me that it was amazing.
The other museum (owned by the same person, I believe) is the Americana Hollywood museum. It was probably four times as large, and had memorabilia for nearly every genre movie type out there, including sci-fi, horror, westerns, superheroes and special sections for Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Tarzan, and the “classics” like Gone With the Wind and Casablanca. This museum had few original pieces from movies, but rather had a massive amount of collectibles and replicas. (Although I did see some original costumes from a few movies.) The superhero room was basically a giant tribute to all of the superhero toys – I couldn’t believe how many they had!
It was fun, it was a little silly, and it was a nice escape from reality for a few days. I don’t know if we’ll ever go back again, but it was definitely worth going once.