This coming weekend, for the first time since 2019, Mrs. PopCulteer and I will be attending ToyLanta. We are nervous as hell, but we’re going to take precautions and be careful and, for what is really the first time, we’ll be going to the show as civilians.

Every year that I’ve attended JoeLanta, and later ToyLanta, I’ve produced a wrap-up video to try to capture the energy and excitement of the experience. My first show was in 2013, which was at the tail end of my 20-year period as a family caregiver, when I couldn’t really travel for anything that wasn’t health-related.

That first year was a revelation. In the space of about three hours I met over fifty people who had been online-only friends for the better part of two decades. The JoeLanta crowd welcomed me and Melanie (now Mrs. PopCulteer) into the JoeLanta family, and the annual trip to Atlanta has been a big part of our lives ever since.  I’ve made a wrap-up video every year since our first, although in 2016 I didn’t get it finished until November (that was a bit of rough year for your PopCulteer).

When the show transitioned to ToyLanta a few years back we enthusiastically embraced the expansion, since it all goes to benefit the Cody Lane Memorial Toy and Diorama Museum, a dream that we are all still working hard to realize.

This year I am going, but I’m going to be skipping a lot of the events. Being immuno-compromised, I’m not entirely comfortable cramming myself into a tightly-packed room with my fellow collectors. So I won’t be attending any panels or the Saturday evening Radio Cult concert. I plan to visit with friends in small groups away the crowds, and I’ll capture some of the cool customs and dioramas during the quieter moments so I can share them with my readers. Thankfully, we’re getting Commander’s Packages, so that we can get into the dealer room early.

I’ll be doing this all with my mask on. I’d rather be the last person wearing a mask than be the last person to catch COVID.  I hope and believe that we are in the homestretch of the pandemic, but I’m not willing to gamble on that yet.

To give you an idea what I’m talking about, I’m re-posting my wrap-up videos from previous to give you a tiny hint of the cool stuff you can see if you’re vaccinated and can make the trip.