August 12, 2016. At the Baltimore Convention Center, in Maryland. It was a brutally hot weekend with temperatures in the high 90’s and humidity levels going from immediate discomfort within seconds of stepping out into the streets, to utterly soaking wet a minute later, even with only a pair of shorts and tank-top on. The fact that the location was held by the inner Harbor area provided no relief as there was absolutely no breeze to be felt.
You see, what began as a gathering of about 350 attendees back in 1994 has now reached over 29,000+ by this year’s count. OTAKORP Spokeswoman Alyce Wilson stated that they have been booking hotels nearby for the past couple of years to host additional Con-events and panels, helping disperse the huge attendance that had already capped the Baltimore Convention Center area. So the decision and planning to relocate OTAKON has been in the works for quiet some time. Where is it being held next year for 2017?
While the organizers swear by the benefits of a much larger facility, and all the added amenities the US Capital has to offer in terms of tourist areas and sites to see, sentiments from hundreds of veteran OTAKON attendees aren’t so happy about the move.
Unlike AnimeNEXT that also had to relocate its venue due to reaching maximum capacity this year from North Jersey to Atlantic City, OTAKON’s move from Baltimore, Maryland to Washington DC spells a much farther travel time for many long time OTAKON goers. And then there’s the fact that another popular Anime Convention called KATSUCON has been held annually in the DC Metro area for years as well.
Sure it would be great for local residents of Washington DC to benefit with having not one but two huge Anime Conventions in a year. But will this turn into a huge competition for both OTAKON and KATSUCON when inviting out-of-State attendees to decide which Anime Convention to go to? Or will the 5 month separation be enough to entice them to visit the Capital twice. Only time will tell…
We definitely had a blast attending OTAKON this year. And if this were to be our last trip to Baltimore for quiet some time, the summer heat and humidity didn’t stop everybody we saw there from enjoying yet another OTAKON.
Hope to see you all in Washington, DC next year!