October is here, and with it Halloween. A time for parties, for dressing up and generally showing another side of yourself. In Bogotá that also means SOFA, the yearly festival of ocio and fantasía…or more basically, geek heaven. But a heaven in Corferías. Unlike heaven, Fred Ellis is allowed in here, and he’s given us a guide.
The Corferías venue is huge and split between two aircraft hanger sized pavilions, each chock-full of delights, veritable Aladdin’s caves of stuff. What…stuff? Just…stuff.
On the bottom floor of the biggest of the two pavilions are various stalls. Some of these are Rubik’s cube shops (yes, really) while some sell Viking drinking horns. We love board games in the office, and we love Bloody Sands, a Bogotá designed and produced dice/card game that’s fine for all the family and hours of fun.
Comics are another big draw. While there are a few venues around Bogotá selling various comic series and standalone titles, SOFA brings them all together under one roof. No time wasted traipsing around sodden streets, instead stroll leisurely and luxuriate in the glory of warm halls.
If your wardrobe is getting rather stale and boring, why not accessorise with some steampunk nonsense or super anime-influenced throw rugs? The less adventurous among us might take a fancy to Hogwarts cloaks and scarves.
If you’re more contemporary in your choice of exercise and activity, trot along to pavilion 4, the top floor to your left as you enter, which is set aside for urban games and activities. This is chock-full of people juggling and mucking about on all kinds of wheels, from BMXs to skateboards. Mariana Pajón might have a pair of shiny gold medals, but these kids would put her into the shade when it comes to tricks and kicks – look out for bike trick expert Felipe ‘Santa’ Santamaria. There’s also paintball and if you’re looking for post-SOFA activities, this is the best place to sign up. Be it roller derby, abseiling or paragliding, there’s a club for everything here.
The honourable representatives of Pendragon Grupo Medieval are running an entire living museum of the Middle Ages on the second floor of pavilion 6. These knaves and wenches can be relied upon to provide entertainment in a host of medieval forms. There are mock fights to be had, chainmail to be worn and an archery range to test your bow skills. Organiser Hüsfreyja Ingun Sigurdöttir promises us that “you can experience things that probably you’ve only ever seen in movies and get closer to our reproductions of authentic objects from the time.” If that hasn’t sold you, there will even be competitions. Get there early enough and you’ll be treated to medieval style food, although mercifully with modern ingredients.
Kurenai Maid Cafe offers a particularly Japanese-style experience. Here you’ll be served surprisingly good food by women dolled up as Victorian style maids. Not everyone’s cup of tea maybe, but something that’s certainly off the beaten track.
We featured Giselle Nahjra last edition, and you can find her at pavilion 3, stand 229. However, over and above this, there will be many a jabberwocky and Naruto wandering the passageways and pathways of the sprawling centre. Indeed, one of the great delights of taking the air at SOFA is the opportunity to see the spectacles. Most are obliging with selfies, if you find humility difficult and insist on photographing yourself everywhere.
It’s not all capitalist spending though. Test your calligraphy with a trip to the oriental language schools. You can pick up a copy of your name transcribed into Japanese katakana or Korean hangukmal and if you’re brave, sign up for a course to learn to do it yourself!
Where: Corferías, Carrera 37 #24 – 67
When: October 27-30, 10am – 8pm
Cost: $10,000 – $14,000 depending on the day
By Fred Ellis