Otakon 2017 Convention Report - The DC Debut

Otakon 2017 Convention Report - The DC Debut

After 18 years, Otakon has finally left Baltimore behind to find a new home in our nation's capital.  With spiraling attendance numbers and increasing discontent about the crowded and antiquated Baltimore Convention Center, Otakon is looking to open a new chapter in its history by moving to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center which they claim boasts five times the square footage.  The DC debut took place this past weekend from Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13, 2017.  I'll be completely honest to say that leading up to this event I had a sense of anxiety and doubt about how Otakon will fare in this new location.  But to summarize in case you don't want to read the entirety of this lengthy report to get to my verdict: I was impressed.  Very impressed.

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AnimeNEXT 2017 Convention Report

AnimeNEXT 2017 Convention Report

The 2017 edition of the AnimeNEXT anime convention was held this past weekend from June 9-11, 2017.  This is the second year that AnimeNEXT has been held at the Atlantic City, NJ location (and my second AnimeNEXT as well).  It was certainly a beautiful weekend for the convention, and I certainly look forward to coming back again in the future.

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Zenkaikon 2017 Convention Report

Zenkaikon 2017 Convention Report

Last weekend was the Zenkaikon anime convention held in Lancaster, PA from April 28-30, 2017.  It is essentially my hometown con since it's only about 25 minutes away from my parents house.  But, forget the guests, panels, events, cosplay, merchandise, etc.  This weekend was all about the donuts.  Chocolate covered maple bacon long john donuts to be exact!

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Anime Boston 2017 Convention Report

Anime Boston 2017 Convention Report

The Anime Boston convention was held this past weekend from Friday March 31 through Sunday April 2, 2017 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA.  This was my first time attending this convention so it was an entirely new experience for me.  I kind of made the mistake of flying in on Friday morning instead of coming out the previous night as I had to lug my suitcase around during the morning before I could go and check into my hotel (although they did thankfully have a paid bag check area to store things).  And since I had to leave and get situated with my hotel I also lost out on some valuable time that I could have spent actually doing things at the convention (and I missed out on the fire alarm!).  Lessons learned for future trips to distant conventions.  And as luck would have it, I apparently brought some bad weather with me as well as I have been told that this year was the first year in AB history that it had snowed during the convention.  Granted, the snow never really accumulated much on the ground but it was still very wet and troublesome for both Friday evening and the entirety of Saturday.

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Katsucon 2017 Convention Report

Katsucon 2017 Convention Report

The Katsucon 2017 anime convention was held this past weekend from February 17-19, 2017 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD.  Katsucon was just as good as past years and once again reminds everyone why it's the premier convention for cosplay.  The amount of cosplayers strutting their stuff was staggering and the quality and creativity continues to be mind-blowing.  There's no question in my mind that Katsucon has firmly supplanted Otakon as the must go-to convention in this region, especially when cosplay is concerned.

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AniMore 2017 Convention Report

AniMore 2017 Convention Report

The 2nd annual AniMore anime convention was held this weekend from January 13-15, 2017 in Baltimore, MD.  I actually only stopped by for a few hours on Saturday as I was curious as to how it may have changed or grown since its debut last year.  AniMore had a rough start last year as a record-breaking blizzard hit the area during the same weekend which caused a lot of attendees, panelists, and vendors to not show up (you can read my report of last year's con here).  While there were some signs of minor growth this year it was most likely once again hampered by a weather forecast for dangerous icy conditions (which never materialized).

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MAGFest 2017 Convention Report

MAGFest 2017 Convention Report

The MAGFest 2017 Music and Gaming Festival was held last weekend from January 5-8, 2017 in National Harbor, MD.  There really isn't a whole lot for me to say about this year's MAGFest because it's simply the same great, fun, laid back place for all things video games and music, except continuously bigger.  If rumored speculations are true about attendance this year nearing the 25,000 mark then that is twice as many attendees than the first MAGFest that I attended back in 2014.  MAGFest has become so popular that pre-registration and hotel reservations were being sold out at record paces.

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Anime USA 2016 Convention Report

Anime USA 2016 Convention Report

The annual Anime USA convention was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC this past weekend from October 21-23, 2016.  The perennial small to mid-sized con featured much of the same experience as past years which is not necessarily a bad thing.  New this year were themed fandom meetups where fans of a particular show/game/fandom can meet up for either a cosplay photoshoot or just to hang out and talk to like-minded fans.  AUSA also had to share the hotel with another convention that was running simultaneously over the weekend so some of the event and panel rooms were relocated from their usual locations in order to accommodate the situation.

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Otakon 2016 Con Report - Sayonara to Baltimore Edition

Otakon 2016 Con Report - Sayonara to Baltimore Edition

The annual Otakon anime convention may have originated from Pennsylvania, but after calling Baltimore its home for the last 18 years it's hard to imagine it taking place anywhere else.  For better or worse, the sights and sounds of Inner Harbor have become synonymous with the convention and with the overall Otakon experience.  But just like everything in life, all good things must come to an end.  Otakon has long since outgrown the physical capacity of the Baltimore Convention Center and the BCC itself is woefully aged and decrepit.  Thus Otakon will be moving to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown DC until at least 2024.  The city of Baltimore has pledged that they will do whatever they can to bring Otakon back to the city, but we'll have to wait and see if anything comes to fruition in the next eight years.

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Fiesta Asia Silver Spring 2016 Street Festival

Fiesta Asia Silver Spring 2016 Street Festival

Fiesta Asia had their 6th annual Asian Street Festival at Silver Spring, MD on June 26th, 2016.  Normally scheduled for the beginning of May but postponed to June due to being rained out, the Silver Spring festival is a smaller, more compact version of the big bonanza that takes place in Washington, DC.  I was in Silver Spring for a couple of hours and took photos and video from performances by the Mongolian Dance Ensemble (which included ultra-adorable kids in camel costumes), Chin Daiko taiko drumming, Spotlight Studio Indonesian dances, Arabesque Dance Theatre, Kuchipudi Dance Academy, Leilah Moon, Asala Raqs, Beta Academy, and a Hawaiian performance.

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