Otafest By The Numbers

It takes a lot to put on this annual anime festival in Calgary, and here are the numbers to prove it.

Closing festivities at Otafest 2018. Photograph by Paul Kiemele, courtesy of Otafest.

Otafest is an annual anime festival in Calgary. Originally a one-day affair, it now extends over the May long weekend. With all-night anime screenings, the festival offers continuous programming over the entire 72 hours.

Attendees are encouraged (though not required) to dress up and can compete in a variety of costume contests. Committed cosplayers, a group Otafest chair Jenny Chan describes as the “soul of the festival,” can compete for a qualifying spot in Clara Cow’s Cosplay Cup, an international competition in the Netherlands.

Otafesters can also shop the exhibitor hall and artist valley for collectables and original artwork and see appearances by industry professionals: this year’s lineup includes vocal actress Wendee Lee of the anime series Cowboy Bebop and YouTube personality ProZD.

It takes a lot to put a festival like this together every year, and here are the numbers to prove it.

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This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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