AnimeFest (Sept. 4-7, 2015) is easily one of, if not definitely, my favorite convention. Held at the Sheraton in Downtown Dallas (A-Kon’s old home), AnimeFest is what I consider to be a perfect convention.
A “perfect convention” is definitely personal preference and here is my (somewhat condensed) list of how I determine if a convention is “perfect”:
- Is it affordable
- Is it in a hotel or near a hotel thats easily accessible
- Are the events exciting/how is the dealers room, artist alley
- Does it have a good night life
- Is it well run, managed
AnimeFest is about average price wise (current rate for the weekend is $65), however while most conventions run for three days, AnimeFest runs for four. Paired with their special hotel rates, by convention standards the price is definitely affordable. The Sheraton, located in the heart of Downtown
Dallas, is spacious and with the addition of the skybridge that connects to the Westin hotel (complete with food court) allows guests large walkways and easily accessible food options. Additionally, I’ve had great success booking a room up until the last week before the convention, while many events have you hoping you’ll get lucky enough to grab a room.
AnimeFest hosts a large Dealer’s Room and an extensive Artist Alley (and in the past multiple Artist Alley locations). While the Dealer’s Room does require a badge to enter, the large range of vendors and products makes it worth it. The Artist Alley is open to the public and usually staffed until the late hours of the night, allowing guests to continue to shop past the Dealer’s Room hours. AnimeFest has a reputation of treating their artists and dealer’s well and accommodating special requests.
AnimeFest has brought in some large guests in the past, including Japanese rock sensation Flow, and typically has a strong panel schedule that includes famed voice actors in the Anime community. Additionally AnimeFest hosts a large cosplay contest that brings competitors from all over the country.
Fortunately since the convention is hosted inside a hotel, AnimeFest easily has an established nightlife, whether they plan any events or not. Typically some sort of masquerade or similarly themed ball is hosted one of the evenings. The other nights become host to midnight dances with DJs who play everything from current EDM to nostalgic remixes of video game soundtracks, and cartoon and anime theme songs.
Anytime I’ve ever had an issue at AnimeFest (which has been rare, but occasionally there’s a badge mix-up or small issue) it has been quickly and professionally resolved. The staff is well trained and mindful of the guests, and with a convention growing as rapidly as AnimeFest’s numbers has proven, keeping the convention running smoothly is no small feat.
Of course any convention will have it’s flaws, and by no means am I saying that AnimeFest will run without hiccups, but given it’s track record and my 5+ years of attendance, it is easily a convention I look forward to the most. I hope to see you there!
For more information about AnimeFest visit their website here.