Big Convention in a Small Town

Big Convention in a Small Town

Every year, cosplayers and anime fans alike flock to National Harbor to partake in the festivities of Katsucon. Katsucon is an annual anime convention held in the Gaylord typically over President’s Day weekend in February. It has been going on since 1995 and has been held in various convention centers throughout Maryland, Washington D.C, and Virginia, but it has been in the Gaylord Hotel for the past six years.


This convention is one of the most popular in the community, drawing fans from all over the world, their attendance in capping in 2015 at 15,444 people. The event has become so large that the line for people who pre-registered, meaning bought their attendee badge in advance, has actually grown larger than the line for people buying their badge at the door. Standing in that line is never unpleasant, though, as it is extremely easy to make friends at Katsucon.


This year, Katsucon was held from February 12th through the 14th, seeing guests such as popular voice actors, J. Michael Tatum, Todd Haberkorn, and Greg Ayers. Celebrity guests from year to year often include famous cosplayers, directors, manga artists, and many more. These guests often hold panels and workshops so they can meet and interact with their fans during the weekend. Attendees should know, however, that meeting the convention guests often requires a VIP pass which costs more and is purchased in advance.


Katsucon includes many fun activities for the attendees as well, including art shows, costume contests, game shows, a formal ball, a rave, a charity auction, artists’ alley, which is a room filled with fan made art that is for sale, and a dealers’ room, designed to sell all sorts of merchandise that any attendee can enjoy. Guests can also try their hand at being involved by hosting their own panels, photoshoots, or workshops that are open to the public.


All of the excitement isn’t hidden in just the scheduled events, though, as Katsucon is always full of surprises. This year’s weekend held multiple proposals as well as even a wedding, but the largest surprise wasn’t the most enjoyable. On Saturday, February 13, a small electrical fire started in the Gaylord, causing a mass evacuation of everyone inside the building. While no one was harmed, many photoshoots and panels were cancelled or rescheduled and attendees were forced to stand outside in the cold for an hour.


Despite any inconveniences, any Katsucon attendee will tell you that the convention was a success and will continue to draw in thousands of guests every year. Pre-Registration for Katsucon 2017, which is being held from February 17-19, is already open, so if you wish to go next year, you better hurry!