What does that mean, you ask? Well, it means that even though we're a small convention (around 1,200 people in 2011), we really give our attendees their money's worth! We deliver an immersive weekend experience for fans of anime, manga, video games, and Japanese culture. Each year brings a new theme and a new look. Staff sound and lighting engineer Eric Johnson rocks the main events room with his amazing rig, transforming a hotel ballroom into a concert hall for our yearly concerts, a Broadway theater for the Masquerade, and an underground club for the rave. All of this takes place in a safe environment, a little otaku haven, if you will, from the normal world.
Kawa Kon offers unique events each year to match the theme. The theme in 2009 was Mechs and Marshmallows, and it brought a mech-building contest, an anime "roast", and Marshmallow Mechs (a laid-back mech-building contest with marshmallows, candy, and toothpicks). Because the convention happened over Valentine's Day in 2009, we had special events and deals for couples. The theme in 2010 is "Matsuri!", and what a celebration it will be! Traditional Japan will fuse with current Japanese pop culture for events like Yosakoi dancing, karaoke, Sports Day, and tons of other programming centered around Japanese celebration. In 2011, we had a "Takin' It to the Streets!" theme celebrating Japanese youth culture, past and present with hip-hop, hakama, and harajuku.
We aren't new to this convention-running thing, either. Con chairs Katrina and Mikhail Lynn have been doing convention programming for five years, and they took Anime St. Louis from its humble one-day-on-a-college-campus roots in 2006 to a convention with 1500 excited attendees in 2008. Every year, new members join the growing staff with new ideas and a love of anime. Because the same chairs run the convention each year, our professionalism only gets better, and so does the programming that we offer to our attendees. In our five years running conventions, we have added new events such as Bishie Con and Flash Kon and hosted small, one-time events such as 24 Hours of Potter and the upcoming Escape from Outer Heaven.
In mid-2008, we renamed our convention Kawa Kon, which means "River Con", a tribute to the Mississippi River that runs beside our city. The name reflects how we're always changing, always trying new things as a convention.