Otakon to move convention to Washington D.C.

Event celebrating anime, east Asian culture has been in Baltimore since 1999

August 11, 2013|By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun

Otakon, the Japanese and East Asian anime and culture convention that has drawn tens of thousands of people to Baltimore since 1999, will be held in Washington D.C. beginning in 2017, organizers announced Sunday.

In a statement, organizers said they were announcing the move with mixed feelings and attributed it to the "state of the facilities in Baltimore and their uncertain future." The 20-year-old convention was held this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center, drawing a reported 32,000 attendees.

"The Baltimore Convention Center has not aged gracefully," the Otakon statement said.

By 2017, the convention will move to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center and will remain in Washington D.C. for "at least five years," Otakon organizers said. A return to Baltimore was not ruled out, but organizers said it would have to wait until planned upgrades to the Baltimore Convention Center are complete.

"Despite our long ties to Baltimore, we are energized and excited for the possibilities afforded by the facilities in DC," the statement said. "As with any move, there will be challenges and a bit of a learning curve, but we view this as an opportunity. And we look forward to seeing the results of Baltimore's planned reinvestment — with luck, we'll face another tough choice in a few years."



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