White woman in a Renaissance looking gown playing guitar on stage to a crowd standing under the sign Matsuricon

Columbus is home to several annual conventions appealing to the gaming, fantasy, comic book enthusiasts and the general geek community. There's the Origins Game Fair, Marcon fantasy and science fiction convention, the Ohayocon anime convention, Buckeye Comic Con, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), Geeklycon and this year, WizardWorld. Matsuricon is an annual Japanese pop-culture event in Columbus, started in 2006 and held exclusively in Columbus, that focuses primarily on Japanese animation (known as “anime,”) manga (Japanese graphic novels,) and video games.

"Matsuri" is the Japanese word for "festival." Matsuricon’s goal is to promote the cultural awareness of Japanese pop culture through related events, special guest speakers and cultural presentations. At Matsuricon you can find everything geeky and otaku, from anime to video games, Doctor Who to Marvel, My Little Pony to Homestuck and everything in between. It's an anime con first, but includes everyone else because the obvious overlap of fandoms.

The Matsuricon 2018 is August 24-26, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Columbus and the Greater Columbus Convention Center. There will be two main event areas, several concerts, over 18 guests of honors, hundreds of hours of panel content, 40-plus arcade cabinets and over 50 vendors in the Exhibit Hall. The convention typically offers an artist alley, cosplay contest, dealers room, formal ball, gaming (arcade, board, video,) karaoke, masquerade and a video contest.

Matsuri Idol will be present again at this year's Matsuricon 2018, an American Idol-style vocal competition hosted by The M.I.C. Group. "Scrapped!" is a sewing contest promoted as "Chopped meets Project Runway." Competitors will be given a mystery box of materials and a set amount of time to make a costume fitting the “Medieval Fantasy” theme. All materials and tools will be provided, and the victorious team wins a prize.

Though Matsuricon is considered a “family friendly” event - most of the panels are all ages unless otherwise stated -- they do showcase certain events that are not appropriate for attendees under the age of 18. Convention staffers check the IDs of all attendees before they enter these events. Because of their “family friendly” image, the con mascots are a “traditional” Japanese family consisting of a father, a mother, a son, a daughter and a dog.

The cost at the door is $60 for the full weekend, or lower prices for one day at a time. Children under 12 must be accompanied by a guardian.

Every year there is an auction to collect money for their annual donation to Ohio State University’s The James Comprehensive Cancer Center. They collect some of the coolest swag they can find and get names from the industry to sign them and make them even cooler, then auction them off at the big auction on Sunday. During the weekend there will be one item auctions at the end of some panels. In 2017, the Matsuricon raised over $10,000 for the James.

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