2018’s must-see conventions for UConn students

Convention goers attend Anime Boston in 2011. (Adam Rose/Flickr Creative Commons)

With the spring semester wrapping up in a few weeks and with summer right around the corner, soon you’ll have more free time than you’re used to having. With all this freedom, why not check out some local conventions over the summer? Ranging from anime to comic books to even cats, this 2018 list offers a convention for everyone within driving distance from any UConn campus. So get your friends, grab some snacks and get ready to make this summer as nerdy as possible.

Anime Boston

Anime Boston is located in historic Boston, Massachusetts and attracts 74,000 attendees yearly - making it the largest anime convention on the East Coast and the sixth largest anime convention in America.

Anime Boston is a three-day convention held annually at the Hynes Convention Center by the New England Anime Society. Its focus is to celebrate and promote Japanese animation, comics and pop-culture. Anime Boston has attracted musical, voice and artistic talent from around the world, including PUFFY AMI YUMI, OKAMOTO’S, JAM Project, LiSA, Nobuo Uematsu, the pillows, Kalafina with Yuki Kaijura and STEREOPONY. Recent sponsors and exhibitors have included Aniplex, Bandai Visual, Bushiroad, Crunchyroll and Warner Brothers Japan.

While the main focus of Anime Boston has always been Japanese animation and comics, it has expanded to include other aspects of Japanese pop-culture including J-Pop, J-Rock and live-action Japanese media. Working with the Consulate General of Japan in Boston, it has also delved into Japanese history and traditional culture. Featuring these additional aspects helps develop a well-rounded perspective and appreciation for Japan and its culture.

Whether you just love a good anime or cozying up with the newest manga, Anime Boston is a must-see for the college student who just can’t get enough of Japanese culture.

Dates: March 30th – April 1st, 2018; Tickets: All-weekend pass - $75; Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA; http://www.animeboston.com/

Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp

Started in 2017 as Cat Camp, this cat-themed expo in NYC has been a purr-fect hit with fellow cat lovers. The convention returns this spring and is now teaming up with Jackson Galaxy, renowned cat behavior expert and Animal Planet star of “My Cat from Hell,” as an official partner. Organized by Christina Ha, the founder and co-owner of NYC's first renowned cat cafe, Meow Parlour, established this feline festival for a weekend filled with keynote speakers, cat adoptions and cat-themed merchandise and crafts.

This year, in order to accommodate the wildly popular response from last year’s NYC cat-loving community, the event is moving to the Penn Pavilion, centrally located across the street from Penn Station on 34th St and 7th Ave. The 2018 event will span two floors, with 15,000 additional square feet of space, and be able to showcase nearly 300 adoptable cats. Last year, as a result of the event, animal rescue groups in attendance placed 60 cats that were featured in the adoption area into loving “furrever” homes, and $15,000 was raised for the non-profit groups involved.

Despite Jonathan the Husky being our school mascot, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have fellow cat lovers on campus too.

Dates: May 5 – 6, 2018; Tickets available in March; Location: Penn Pavilion, centrally located across the street from Penn Station on 34th St and 7th Ave, New York, NY ; http://www.catcampnyc.com/

Terrificon

Terrificon returns on Aug. 17 – 19, 2018 with more guests, more surprises and more fun at Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun. The convention is one of the largest gatherings of legendary comic book creators in the Nutmeg State. Last year was dedicated to the late and great Adam West, star of the 1960s Batman TV show, who was set to appear at the convention along with previous co-stars like Burt Ward before his untimely passing.

This is one of Connecticut’s bigger comic book convention for fans of comics and their creators and actors from superhero, sci-fi, horror shows and films. Plus, it features some of the best shopping for comic books, artwork, pop-culture memorabilia and gaming goods.

Special events also pop up during the convention so keep an eye out for them on Terrificon’s social media accounts. Last year they had a rooftop viewing of the 1960s original Batman film with stars from the movie in attendance.

Terrificon was personally the convention that surprised me the most. Despite being in the heart of a casino, this convention had a lot of heart and was well-organized and dedicated to fan enjoyment. I’d recommend any college student fan who’s up for a weekend of comic book fun to definitely check out this gem of a convention.

Dates: August 17-19, 2018; All-weekend pass: $75; Location: Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT; http://www.terrificon.com/

ComiCONN

Not to be confused with ConnectiCon, Altered Reality Entertainment & ComiCONN’s "A Show for the Fans by the Fans!" return in 2018 for ComiCONN's ninth show at Foxwoods Resort Casino on June 30 & July 1. ComiConn has been entertaining the Nutmeg State since 2010.

In 2017, the two-day convention featured celebrity appearances from film stars, TV personalities and industry-leading comic book artists. Headlining guests this year include 16-time World Champion, WCW World Heavyweight Champion and pop culture luminary Ric “Nature Boy” Flair. Other guests included Ron Perlman, known for his roles in TV’s “Sons of Anarchy,” and as the comic book superhero Hellboy, and Gaten Matarazzo from the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”

Compared to the other casino convention, Terrificon at Mohegan Sun, ComiCONN offers more of a focus on professional comic book artists and professional cosplayers than Terrificon. While on the other hand, Terrificon offered more diversity in their dealer room and didn’t feel as cramped. Depending on what you value more (professional artists versus fan artists), ComiCONN is a solid convention for dedicated comic book fans.

Dates: June 30 – July 1st, 2018; Tickets: Weekend pass $45; Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket,CT ; https://www.comiconn.com/

ConnectiCon

Back again for their 16th year, ConnectiCon continues to be a beacon for lovers of comic books, movies and nerd culture in the heart of Hartford, Connecticut.

The first ConnectiCon was held in July of 2003 at the University of Hartford campus. It hosted just over 800 members in its first year. As the convention grew, it eventually moved to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The event now attracts over 30,000 people to the city Hartford over the course of the event weekend.

Now run during ConnectiCon weekend, the Riverfront Food Truck Festival offers dozens of the best food truck offerings in Connecticut all conveniently lined up within walking distance of the convention center to feed hungry cosplayers on a budget.

With interactive panels, a spacious dealer’s room and artist alley, plus plenty of fan-themed events, ConnectiCon is a must-go-to event for college students who love nothing more than a weekend full of pop culture fun!

This year, ConnectiCon is considering hosting a movie night at the local Yard Goat’s stadium for fans so keep an eye out for tickets!

Dates: July 12 – 15, 2018; All-weekend pass: $75 + fees; Location: CT Convention Center, Hartford, CT; http://connecticon.org/

ColossalCon East

ColossalCon East is an anime, gaming and Japanese culture convention taking place Sept. 7-9, 2018. Located at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos Mountains, Pennsylvania, it’s the ultimate end of summer vacation getaway.

ColossalCon East is a spinoff of ColossalCon, which is hosted at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio.

With America's largest indoor waterpark now opened in the Pocono Mountains, the Kalahari Resort and Convention Center boasts 220,000 square feet of wet and wild indoor fun. There’s also the extreme Family Entertainment Center and arcade, full-service spa, fitness center, restaurants, retail shops and much more all under one roof.

The convention not only features a great selection of panels, dealer rooms, swap trades and gaming dens, they offer convention-goers an exclusive after-hours party that opens the waterpark just for them. Grab a tropical drink from the underwater bar and hope your cosplay makeup is waterproof because this is one adventure-filled convention.

Dates: Sept 7 – 9 2018; Tickets: All-weekend pass - $40; Kalahari Resort, Pocono Mtns, PA; http://colossalconeast.com/


Anna Marini is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus at the Waterbury campus. She can be reached via email at anna.marini@uconn.edu.