SacAnime Summer 2012
Competing with several other events in Sacramento Labor Day weekend, SacAnime successfully competed for a large audience. Fans gathered to enjoy a full three days of anime, cosplay, video games, workshops, panels, autograph sessions, karaoke, and many more activities dealing with Asian pop culture.
SacAnime has outgrown its previous venues, including the initial gathering in 2005 at the Sunrise Mall, and attendance continues to grow. In September of last year 4,800 attended the event. Winter 2012 attendance grew to approximately 5,000 and SacAnime reports that over 7,700 fans attended this past weekend.
The event is well-organized and the SacAnime staff takes suggestions to heart and does what it can to fix complaints. At each closing ceremony fans are encouraged to talk about what they liked about the event and what they would like to see at future events, including what SacAnime can do to make the event better. The show is geared to the fan base, which has made the event a successful celebration and gathering.
All things dealing with Japanese pop culture have become very popular and a vendor room full of this type of merchandise was available for SacAnime fans. Over 70 tables were set up throughout the venue for dealers and exhibitors and the vendor room was full throughout the day.
Voice actor guests included Jennifer Hale, Johnny Yong Bosch, Roger Craig Smith, Travis Willingham, Michelle Ruff, Billy Martinez and Laura Bailey. These entertainers held panels that included audience participation and Q&A sessions. They also patiently and eagerly sat at autograph tables where lines stared inside the halls of the Woodlake and made their way outside.
These autograph sessions are very taxing for voice actors, entertainers and fans. SacAnime, however, continues to listen to fan suggestions on helping this become a smoother process.
SacAnime has some of the most loyal followers who are very cordial and attentive. At the heart of the event is the great community of anime fans who plan for the event months in advance. The weekend event allows for fans to attend each day or just one of the dates. The most popular day seems to be Saturday when the majority of attendees come to enjoy cosplay.
Fans make friends at the event that last for years. One demonstration of fan camaraderie was shown by a memorial event held for 21-year-old Harison Randall, who was struck by a hit-and-run as he walked with his girlfriend and her dogs on July 29.
Randall’s family was on hand at several events and fans came together to donate funds to help the family with medical and funeral expenses. Fan support was overwhelming.
A video honoring Randall played at the memorial service. Soon after that, several Randall family members shared their experiences and memories of him. Fans were invited to also share their memories and a long line formed.
Many who came to the microphone to say a few words about Randall noted they hardly knew him but remembered saying hi or meeting him, if only briefly. It was heart touching just to see the SacAnime community come together to honor one of their own.
The weekend’s events also included live outdoor concerts performed by returning musical guests, Eyeshine and akai SKY. Other popular segments included a fashion show, video game tournaments, the artists’ alley, workshops, panels and the Cosplay Masquerade. Yet another event that continues to grow is Café Hoshi, where now several café shows are being hosted throughout the weekend.
There was so much to see, do and experience at SacAnime. The SacAnime staff is to be commended for their organization and the quality of guests they select for each of the events. Director of Programming Jodon Bellofatto, along with Dan Houck, Jason Dube, Chris Costagnetto, Topher Nguyen, Katie Bair, Adreena Smith and Jonas Cassation coordinated a successful event, as shown by the record attendance.
Bellofatto shared that volunteers are also a big part of SacAnime and encouraged those in attendance to continue to take advantage of the many volunteering opportunities.
Obviously this convention would not be possible without the attendees as well.
The Anime Music Video Contest winners were announced and Bellofatto noted that the number of entries has grown to where the next contest will be broken down into categories.
As soon as the 2012 summer event ended on Sunday, Bellofatto announced special guests scheduled to attend in 2013. Bellofatto also noted that SacAnime 2013’s event at the Convention Center will include several events at the Sheraton Hotel, where they have sealed a hotel room package for attendees.
Log on to SacAnime to view program details as they occur. The Sacramento Convention Center and the Sheraton Grand Sacramento will host SacAnime Winter 2013 Jan. 4-6.
(Please note, ,ore photos from the event can be found here.