Sakura-Con with Isaac Alexander
Sakura-Con at 5
by Isaac Alexander
This year marked the 5th anniversary of Sakura-Con. From an attendee's perspective, this was probably the smoothest run convention to date. Sakura-Con moved back into the central Puget Sound area to the new 4-star Seattle Airport Hilton & Conference Center. The convention used about 70% of the total function space available to us for 2002, so there's plenty of space to expand for the future.
The increase in attendance was incredible. The first day alone this year, the convention had more people register then come to the entire convention in 2001. This year the con had an attendance of 2,300+. This is very startling considering the first Baka-Con five years earlier had a total of 313 people.
Out of the 2,300 people that attended, I would hazard a guest to state that over 500 people at least were in some type of costume over the weekend. The creativity and energy fans put into their costumes is just astounding. There's never a dull moment.
Sakura-Con Guests of Honor, from left to right, Norio Shioyama, Shouji Yonemura, Hiroshi Nagahama
Our guests were very well received by our attendees. Our Japanese Guests Norio Shioyama, Hiroshi Nagahama, & Masakazu Yonemura all expressed their thanks for watching their shows, and meeting fans of their works in North America.
Besides our Japanese guests, our North American Voice Actors and Industry Representatives were treated with adoration from their fans. The convention also had a visit from the King County Executive, and the local Japanese Consulate General, both of whom spoke at opening ceremonies.
Here's a quick list of all the events or items that were taking place at the convention: Art & Model Show, Artist Alley, Exhibitors Hall, 3 Live Programming Rooms, 2 24hr Video Theaters, Arcade Gaming, Console Gaming, PC LAN Gaming, Table Top RPG Gaming, Masquerade Ball, Masquerade, Run Way Fashion Show, Anime Music Video Contest, anime game shows, guest panels, cultural panels, company panels, animation panels, karaoke, dancing, and much, much more...
I ran the ANCEA Charity Auction this year to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Organization. We ended up doubling the amount of money raised. This year's total amount was over $4,560. I want to personally thank all the individuals and companies that donated items to the charity, as well as all the people that bought them.
Next years convention will be held April 4-6 once again at the Seattle Aiport Hilton. Hope to see you there.
Isaac Alexander is the vice-president of ANCEA (Asia Northwest Cultural Education Association), Sakura-Con's parent organization, last year's con-chair and the former editor-in-chief of Anime News Network.