Columbus is a very geeky city — so geeky, in fact, that it’s home to not just one long-running annual anime convention, but two! Over the weekend between August 22nd and 24th, the Hyatt Regency Hotel played host to the smaller and younger but no less ambitious of the two, Matsuricon.

The first thing I encountered at Matsuricon was the Artist Alley. Rather than tucking them into their own room, in the back of the dealer room, or up on a balcony, Matsuricon’s artist tables lined the hallways of the Hyatt’s meeting space, immediately bringing my attention to the large community of traditional artists, webcomic creators, plush-makers, visual novel writers, jewelry-makers, and crafters of many other kinds showing off their projects and selling their wares at the show. They outnumbered even the more traditional vendors in the dealer room. Many were local, or at least relatively so: Jennifer Lebon from Kent was displaying her menagerie of brightly-colored, handmade fleece animals, while Lauren Briedenbaugh from Polaris was selling prints of her drawn art, both original work and art including LGBT-friendly fandoms like Welcome to Night Vale. For Lauren, it was her sixth convention here in the Columbus area.

Inside the dealer room were all the staples of anime fandom: Manga-filled shelves, boxes filled with DVDs, tiny blind-packed character figurines, colorful plush toys, busty bikini-clad statues, and pricey high-end action figures. There were also booths filled with everything to fill your cosplay needs, including wigs in every color of the rainbow. Some dealers even brought boxes of doujinshi, fan-made books with low print runs, high production values, and often adult (frequently “M/M”) content. But that’s not to say the dealer room wasn’t family friendly — adult content was available, but properly labeled as 18+.

Big conventions can get a bit overwhelming, but there were good spots for quiet time, too. In addition to the usual video and panel rooms, Matsuricon hosted the Carolina Manga Library, a non-profit group that travels to conventions with their library of donated manga, graphic novels, and webcomic collections. Their room was a quiet oasis where attendees could take anything off their shelves and settle in to read for a while.

But the show was plenty loud, too. This year’s Matsuricon had a musical theme. It’s not uncommon for voice actors to be talented singers as well, and featured bands The Brehms and Eyeshine were fronted by well-known voices Stephanie Young Brehm and Johnny Yong Bosch. There were also concerts by the retro-gaming inspired Professor Shyguy and the Symphonic Anime Orchestra.

Through the weekend, the organizers of Matsuricon raised $13,916 for Pelotonia through a charity raffle and a Character Fandom Battle where fans could vote for their favorite character with donation money. The choice of a charity that’s so prominent in Columbus helped this feel even more like a local, community event.

Next year’s Matsuricon is scheduled for August 14th through 16th. Get sewing those costumes now – unless you’re the anime hipster type who puts it off until the last minute so you can dress up as that brand new character no one’s heard of yet.