This is the first year we've partnered with Matsuricon to run their headline "Night Market" Event! This convention is such a special gem, where we saw the largest proportion of cosplayers! I think I can count the number of people NOT in costume on one hand (and most of them were staff).
The whole city of Columbus celebrates Matsuricon (from the signs at the airport, to the LED displays near the convention). We had a blast running our Coscove Night Market, hosting a panel on sustainability, and meeting the wonderful cosplayers from Ohio. Keep reading to see tips and our run down of Matsuricon!
Some Con Facts
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Date: Early August (Aug 12-14, 2022)
Category: primarily anime focused
Getting there from San Francisco, had to be one of the hardest things about this entire trip. Flight options were extremely limited, plus, all the arriving flights land in the late afternoon and departing flights leave in early morning. That's the exact opposite of what we wanted.
So we ended up grabbing the only flight that was direct (which also happens to be a red eye). We took off at 11pm PT, and landed around 6AM ET in Ohio.
From the airport to the Hyatt Convention center where we were staying was an easy drive. We got an Uber that took us right to the hotel in about 15 min for less than 20 dollars! It was one of the easiest and shortest trips from the airport out of all the cons I've been to. If you're from further away and need to fly, Matsuricon is a great travel option.
Most of the other attendees were from the Columbus area, or OH/IN region, and drove to the convention. Most people are from a 3h driving distance. So expect to be meeting lots of very nice local Midwest cosplayers and fans if you plan on joining Matsuricon next year. Below is the response of where folks are traveling to the con from (sample is from my sustainability panel).
The Convention Venue - Hyatt Hotel
The convention was housed at the Hyatt Convention Center, which is connected to the Hyatt Hotel. I definitely recommend staying here if you plan on joining any of the late night activities. Since we were running the Night Market (5pm-midnight), we wanted to stay at a place that didn't require us to go onto the streets after dark, and is a short walk so we can just pass out.
Speaking of short walks, there was definitely no such thing at this convention. This con was incredibly spread out. To get from one side (hotel/registration) to the other (Night Market/vendors/panels), probably took a good 10-15 mins. You had to walk through several corridors, go up and down some flights of stairs or elevators, and walk along an incredibly incredibly long main hallway to get to your destination. I recommend you either wear or bring some comfortable shoes to switch in and out of, even if you're staying at the Hyatt.
Aside from the long walks, the convention venue was very lovely. There was a main open area were we saw lots of people gathering to shoot photos and perform dances. The vendor halls were also well spaced and not too packed.
The Night Market
Now, this was the headline event that Matsuricon had been named after this year, and we were so honored to be running it!
We arrived around 3pm to set up in a room that was a medium sized panel room. By 3:30pm, our sellers began lining up to drop off their items so we could help them sell it during the night market. Sellers didn't have to man their own booths, and had the freedom to fully explore all the wonderful programming that Matsuricon had in store.
By 4:30pm, as we were putting final touches on setup and displaying the items, we'd heard the line had started to form and attendees couldn't wait to check out this Secondhand Market Event.
At 5pm. the floodgates were open and we had so many people come and visit our booth. It was non stop all the way until doors shut at midnight. So many happy buyers walked away from this event having found their dream costumes or items they'd never been able to find elsewhere.
On Saturday, the madness continued from 5pm to midnight! More people came early before doors opened to drop off their items. Some sellers had sold more in one night than they had in the last year, so they went back home and cleaned out even more items to sell. Others who didn't know about this event beforehand, realized it was a perfect chance to give their items a new life and also brought items in.
Saturday was even more busy than Friday! Many buyers came back to check out new items. They also brought all their friends who didn't come or couldn't make it on Friday. We also saw people visiting in the costumes they bought on Friday!
Sunday was a shorter day as we were only open from noon until 4pm. Even so, we saw people who wanted to drop off new items!
By around 2:30pm, sellers had begun to come back to pick up there items and we had a chance to celebrate their wins in the last couple of days. Our most prolific seller had listed close to 90 items and sold more than $1000 dollars worth in a weekend. Around 1/3 of the sellers completely sold out all of their items! In total, 1/8 convention attendees had come and participated in this Used Market and more than 300 walked away with new additions to their fandom collections (many of them had purchased several items)!
There was so much excitement and happiness from all the buyers and sellers who had joined us! We're jotting down a list of which con's they'd like to see us at next, short answer, all of them! We'll definitely be back at Matsuricon next year and are excited to make it the biggest, and best event yet!
Even though the Matsuricon website and marketing all say the con is from Aug 12-14, the programming actually starts on Thursday Aug 11!
For those who arrive a little early on Thursday night, there are some panels, a con crunch party, plus a karaoke session to keep you entertained no matter what mood you're in.
Matsuricon had two rooms dedicated to group photoshoots. Starting from 9am all the way until 8pm, cosplayers can come in and take photos. Usually, meetups and photo shoots are organized by fans, which inevitably leads to a lot of searching for each other, running around and being late, and not knowing where to meet up. We loved the fact that these meetups are already organized, and so much time is dedicated to the various fandoms. A+ on this aspect!
Collectible Card Games
If you're into collectible card games, you're in luck as well. Matsuricon has several rooms dedicated to the variety of card games, and it spans all three days. You could easily spend the entire weekend here, playing various card games with other fans.
As someone who loves dance and performing, I was a huge fan of Matsuricon's dance programming. Not only was there a formal, a masqurade, an electronic dance party, a Magic! Dance Gathering, there were also lessons to teach you how to dance! How thoughtful and incredible is that? There were also plenty of Karaoke sessions, idol programming, madlibs/comedy and and panels on so many different topics. In general I think the programming at Matsuricon is really strong. So I definitely recommend checking out this small gem of a con!
Photos from the Con!
Mengshu is a co-founder of Coscove. Growing up in Canada, Mengshu loved theatre, dance, and all things photography. She did photoshoots in costume before even learning what cosplay was! Find her on Coscove: coscove.com/mengshus