Baccano! in Historic Niles

I live near the historic town of Niles. Some short time after watching "Baccano!", I visited Niles, and from then on, all I could think of was getting a "Baccano!" cosplay group together there and riding on the steam train. Shortly after that, my mom brought home a steam train schedule, and I decided that this would happen. The decided date was August 5th, 2012. It went so much better than I ever could have imagined.

Planning began through a Facebook event. I invited a few of my friends who I thought might be interested, and they in turn invited a few more friends who might be interested. Really a vast majority of the people-finding was done by my friend, she is absolutely amazing at getting cosplay groups together, and this would not have been nearly as amazing as it was without her. We had sewing parties, which sometimes included Skyping with people who couldn't make it, and we all managed to get everything done in time. Our final group included Miria Harvent (myself), Isaac Dian, Jacuzzi Splot, Nice Holystone, Nick (aka Jacuzzi's lackey), Lua Klein, Chane Laforet, Ennis, and Czeslaw Meyer. My boyfriend also tagged along as an appropriately-dressed (1920's-style) bystander/random black suit, and three photographers.

Since I was doing Jacuzzi's tattoo and Nice's scars, it was decided that a few people would meet at my house before going to Niles. Somehow, this turned into, "Hey, everyone, let's all go!" Now, my house isn't super tiny, but it's not huge either, and ten people in my living room and bathroom as a lot. To top things off, of course, a fair amount of us were running late. Luckily no one else in my house was home, it would have been absolute pandemonium then. A bunch of people didn't want to drive over while in cosplay, so they needed to use the bathroom or my bedroom to change or do makeup. It took longer than I had anticipated to do Nice's scars, and I had to have Czes seal them. I had forgotten that I was lending Isaac a belt, and I had to scramble to find that. Jacuzzi had to spray-dye Chane's hair in the front lawn, and Jacuzzi was also lending Nick a pair of suspenders. I kind of wish a photographer had shown up to my house too, the candid shots would have been amazing.

Somehow, we made it to Niles relatively on time. On the way there, I saw what appeared to be a severed arm hanging out of the back of a pickup truck. I pointed it out, but apparently no one else saw the truck. We could have turned around to follow the truck, but it was long gone (and we were running late). I think it was fake anyway. (I hope.) In NIles, we met up with the photographers, who had all been there at the designated meeting time (at least a half an hour before we got there, if not longer), and we caught the bus that would take us to the train.

The line to get tickets seemed surprisingly long, even though it actually only took ten minutes tops for our group to get our tickets. Train rides in Niles are fairly popular, but for some reason, I had assumed that the tradition was dying down some and there'd be next to no line. We took the time waiting for the train to try to get into character some (within reason, of course, we were in public after all). I'm not an overly outgoing, energetic, or loud person, so getting into character for Miria was kind of difficult. Luckily, I felt really comfortable with the group, so eventually I picked up the character and ran with it.

While we waited, we also tried to decide which train car to ride on. Since we were essentially doing a photoshoot, we wanted a nice setting, and it was hard to determine what car was going to give us what we wanted. I had done some research in advanced and found that the dining car appeared to be the nicest/fanciest. When the train arrived, it was easy to pick out which car was the dining car (it said "Dining Car" on the outside). Unfortunately, it was one of the cars that you could board directly onto, so we were worried that it would be crowded.

We got on, and at first it looked like there wasn't going to be enough room for us. Our group easily took up half of the entire dining car. Thankfully, a nice family moved a couple of tables over so that our group could all sit together. The photographers claimed a table and bench seat for themselves, and the rest of us attempted to organize ourselves by character. We had a really random assortment of characters, so it was pretty difficult, but it all worked out in the end.

Czeslaw and Ennis
Isaac and Miria
Also Chane and random black suit

Nice and Jacuzzi
(Across the aisle from Jacuzzi)
(I think across the table from Nick)
One of the conductors passed through the dining car on the way to the engine and stopped to compliment our group on our outfits. He thanked us for dressing in period-appropriate clothes. He told us that it shows respect to the train and its history. While this wasn't our intent, I was ecstatic that we had made the conductor happy and that our getup was well-received by staff.

Once the train began moving, shenanigans ensued.
I had previously made Isaac and myself
some clever disguises.
We didn't directly interact with any other passengers on the train and tried our best to keep to ourselves, but unfortunately, due to just how many of us there were, we were pretty loud. On top of that, there's no denying that we were weird. We had strange in-character conversations and were just generally rambunctious. We couldn't help it, we were excited and having fun. Eventually, we looked around and realized that we had the entire dining car to ourselves. Of course, this was excellent for photos and more shenanigans, but I think all of us felt that pang of guilt that we had essentially scared away the other passengers because we were weird and possibly obnoxious, if only due to the volume. (Luckily, the train wasn't actually too full and there were plenty of other places for the other passengers to go, so it's not like we pushed them out into a crowded train, but I still felt pretty bad.)

Once we had full run of the dining car, we began taking more pictures since we could use more space and be more in-character.

Whee! Adventure~
This is my favorite photo of the entire set. The train had stopped to let another train pass by (so we did this while it was safe). We're also on the opposite side from where the other train passed. We're eccentric, not stupid, haha.

I had originally wanted to actually arm wrestle,
but it turned into just fake arm-wrestling.
When we got to the end of the train ride, we were told that we could either stay on the train or get off to walk around Sunol for ten or fifteen minutes. We didn't want to lose our excellent dining car seats or gather up all of our stuff, so we stayed on. Once the train emptied some, we more or less had free run of the entire train (except the engine and caboose). We left a couple of people to watch our stuff in the dining car and then wandered the train a little. I thought that it was pretty cool that each train car had an entirely different look and feel.

We stopped in a very nice, empty passenger car to get a couple of group photos. Once again, organizing ourselves was pretty difficult, but we managed.

The train ride back was much less in-character than the ride there, but our group's size and volume once again scared a majority if not all of the other passengers off of the dining car. A few of us ended up in a sunflower seed-shelling contest, which ultimately ended in the two teams eating each-others shelled seeds in an attempt to decrease their numbers. We never did find out who won really, I don't think anyone was willing to count the seeds anyway. Another highlight was when Isaac and I managed to say "How" in perfect synchronicity with straight faces and appropriate hand motions. I'm still not entirely sure how much of our group heard or saw it, but we accomplished my goal of the day, so I was happy.

Miria plays tricks on a sleepy Czes.
We took the bus back and managed to all cram into the back of the bus to leave room for other passengers near the front, and so that we would bother less people.
Ennis is not amused by Miria's hijinks
(but Czes is).
When we got back to the main street of Niles, we walked to the caboose that sits in the park for some more photos. We attempted to re-organize ourselves (still an impressive feat in itself) while we waited for other people to finish taking photos on the caboose.

Our group on the caboose

Don't worry, Czes! Isaac and Miria will save you!
Trying to "break in" to the caboose
After a few photos, we decided to look at some of the shops in Niles. Jacuzzi had promised to buy me fudge as payment for putting his tattoo on. Of course, that'd be too simple. Instead, Isaac and Miria helped Jacuzzi pick out a type of fudge to buy for Nice, then stole it. (It was delicious, by the way.) After that, we pretty much dispersed and went home. I was pretty tired, being Miria is really energy-consuming. I can only imagine how tired Isaac was, I was just feeding off of his energy most of the time. It was a really fun day though, I'd love to get everyone back together and do it again some time. Maybe on another train, or another location. A historic speakeasy, one that's not operating anymore so we don't have to be 21 to be in there, would be nice maybe.

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