If you happened to be anywhere near King Street in Lancaster this past weekend, it was impossible to miss Zenkaikon. For the 10th year, the anime and sci-fi convention took over the Lancaster Convention Center and the surrounding area. I had never been to a con of any kind before, so I was fascinated to take in the multitude of sights. On the whole, attendees were incredibly respectful and always gracious when asked for a picture (many of which you can check out below). And, hey, it looks like some of my costume predictions came true!
Festival organizers were sure to not leave much free time across the three days, as the Marriott was chock full of activities. Multiple game and viewing rooms, costume demonstrations and panels filled the schedule from morning to night. And though there was ample space, one of the more familiar sights over the weekend was clusters of attendees huddling on parts of the floor playing their Nintendo DSes.
One of the more bizarre and somewhat uplifting moments of the weekend came on Saturday. Across the street from the convention center, and accompanied by a guy wearing a shirt that said “Security,” a man held steady with a comically large “Trust Jesus / Trump 2016” sign. Unsurprisingly, it was immediately clear that this guy was there to egg on festival-goers. I stood close by on the off chance of a confrontation, but instead, something much better happened: the cosplayers took photos in front of the protesting duo. Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Sora from “Kingdom Hearts” and a whole mess of characters from “Gravity Falls” each took turns posing in front of the sign, which cracked up the whole crowd. Eventually, Sign Guy decided he was beat and left without an exchange of words or worse.
That scene was an amazing representation of the weekend. All that these nerds and cosplayers and fanboys and fangirls wanted to do was celebrate their respective fandoms in a safe and fun environment, and they pulled it off. It made this nerd very proud – and excited to cover Zenkaikon XI next April.