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By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
Organizers of this weekend's Otakon anime convention in Baltimore apologized Friday after glitches in processing registrations left thousands standing outside the downtown convention center for hours on Thursday. Those who had pre-registered for the three-day convention went to the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday to pick up their access badges and convention materials, and organizers said they were able to process about 10,000 people. But an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 attendees waited until nearly midnight before being turned away, organizers said.
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NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 9, 2014
For many attending Otakon, it's hard to think of the Japanese and East Asian anime and pop culture convention without associating it with the city of Baltimore, where it has been held since 1999. But in 2017, the popular three-day event will move to Washington. For some of those at this weekend's mass gathering, the notion was bittersweet: They generally agreed that the convention had outgrown the Baltimore Convention Center, but worried about longer drives, more expensive hotels and the loss of familiarity.
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ENTERTAINMENT
August 5, 2014
For over a decade, John Gluth has been an avid lover of all things anime. In 2002, he found a home for his passion at Otakon. Otakon is an annual anime convention that will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from Friday through Sunday. As vice chair of the convention, Gluth, who lives in Fells Point, gets to see this three-day event unfold firsthand. "I got involved because I wanted to help make it better," said Gluth, 28. "I love watching the cosplayers and seeing friends that I only get to see a few times a year.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
Organizers of this weekend's Otakon anime convention in Baltimore apologized Friday after glitches in processing registrations left thousands standing outside the downtown convention center for hours on Thursday. Those who had pre-registered for the three-day convention went to the Baltimore Convention Center Thursday to pick up their access badges and convention materials, and organizers said they were able to process about 10,000 people. But an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 attendees waited until nearly midnight before being turned away, organizers said.
ENTERTAINMENT
By John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun | July 29, 2010
Ota-what? Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, with an emphasis on music, movies, and fashion. The three-day convention is entering its 17th year. It has been held in Baltimore since 1999. What is cosplay? Short for costume role-play, cosplay is when people dress up as a character from anime, comics, video games or other popular media, and act like the character. What is anime? Anime is an abbreviated pronunciation in Japanese of "animation.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
  Otakon attendees will have someplace to head, after their full days of panel discussions, presentations and workshops at the Baltimore Convention Center. On Friday and Saturday, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., master sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto is hosting a 21-and-over after-party and sake tasting at Dooby's in Mount Vernon.  Soto is no stranger to Otakon, where she presents on panels devoted to sake, whiskey and Japanese drinking culture. And if her name sounds familiar, it's because Soto was the sake sommelier at Pabu, the now-closed Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 9, 2014
For many attending Otakon, it's hard to think of the Japanese and East Asian anime and pop culture convention without associating it with the city of Baltimore, where it has been held since 1999. But in 2017, the popular three-day event will move to Washington. For some of those at this weekend's mass gathering, the notion was bittersweet: They generally agreed that the convention had outgrown the Baltimore Convention Center, but worried about longer drives, more expensive hotels and the loss of familiarity.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2013
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 beginning in 2017, organizers announced Sunday. In a statement, Otakon organizers attributed the move to the "state of the facilities in Baltimore and their uncertain future" and referred to imminent plans to replace the Baltimore Convention Center and the Baltimore Arena. But such plans are not yet firm. The 20-year-old Otakon convention was held this weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center, drawing a reported 32,000 attendees over three days.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 26, 2011
While Otakon will be following its standard all-Japan-all-the-time formula again this year, organizers are stretching their cultural boundaries a bit. "We're actually starting to focus on some Korean pop culture as well," says Otakon spokesman Victor Albisharat. "That's been a growing market. " Among the offerings is the U.S. premiere of "Quick," from South Korean director Jo Beom-goo. "The best way I could describe is kind of a Korean version of 'Speed,'" Albisharat says. "Basically, the premise of this one is a delivery guy on a motorcycle, his first package is actually a bomb.
BUSINESS
By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2013
For Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan, losing Otakon, the Asian culture festival best known for bringing creatively costumed crowds to downtown, was a significant blow. In fiscal year 2012, the three-day convention had an economic impact of $11.3 million, more than any other event at the Baltimore Convention Center. But Baltimore officials were also disappointed for sentimental reasons. The celebration of anime has been in Baltimore since 1999, when it drew 4,500 people.  Through the years, Noonan said, it formed a bond with the city that benefited sides.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Chris Kaltenbach The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
Otakon is many things, all of them having to do with Japanese and East Asian popular culture. But most of all -- at least to outsiders -- it's all about the costumes. Check out the area around the convention center Friday morning, before the fan convention's 8:30 a.m. opening, and you'll see hundreds of people lined up outside, few of them wearing anything normal. The whole scene resembles an anime artist's sketchbook come to vivid life. Visit the Inner Harbor over the weekend, or hang around outside nearby Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the selection of magical girls, evil spirits, ninja warriors, faeries and Pokemen on display feels almost otherworldly.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Richard Gorelick and The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
  Otakon attendees will have someplace to head, after their full days of panel discussions, presentations and workshops at the Baltimore Convention Center. On Friday and Saturday, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., master sommelier Tiffany Dawn Soto is hosting a 21-and-over after-party and sake tasting at Dooby's in Mount Vernon.  Soto is no stranger to Otakon, where she presents on panels devoted to sake, whiskey and Japanese drinking culture. And if her name sounds familiar, it's because Soto was the sake sommelier at Pabu, the now-closed Japanese restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 5, 2014
For over a decade, John Gluth has been an avid lover of all things anime. In 2002, he found a home for his passion at Otakon. Otakon is an annual anime convention that will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center from Friday through Sunday. As vice chair of the convention, Gluth, who lives in Fells Point, gets to see this three-day event unfold firsthand. "I got involved because I wanted to help make it better," said Gluth, 28. "I love watching the cosplayers and seeing friends that I only get to see a few times a year.
NEWS
By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun | September 13, 2013
Speeding race car tires may have blackened Baltimore's streets for the last time, as Grand Prix of Baltimore organizers announced Friday that calendar conflicts have doomed the event for the next two years. Event organizer Race On LLC's top official called any reprise in later years "an uphill battle into the wind. " Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that "there are no conversations going on about" a 2016 Grand Prix. "Everyone wanted the race to continue," said JP Grant, whose Race On LLC revived the event in 2012 after its original organizers became mired in financial difficulties.
BUSINESS
By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | August 16, 2013
Even after losing Otakon, the city's biggest convention, Visit Baltimore promoted its success booking future conventions last week. Baltimore's tourism business ticked up somewhat in fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30. Visit Baltimore, the city's convention and visitors bureau, said it sold 477,764 convention room nights for future dates, the third-most of all time. Still, the loss of the giant anime convention demonstrates the need for the city to expand and refresh its convention center in the next decade as business travel rebounds, city officials said.
BUSINESS
By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | August 14, 2013
Visit Baltimore announced increased sales Wednesday on the heels of news that Otakon, the largest convention held in the Inner Harbor in recent years, would relocate to D.C. in 2017. Visit Baltimore booked 477,764 room nights during fiscal year 2013 for future years, the third-highest total ever, the city's convention and visitors bureau said. It signed contracts for 35 "citywide" conventions, which have at least 1,200 attendees, during fiscal year 2013 according to the group's annual report and business plan.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 26, 2011
Otakon isn't the only place in Baltimore where Japanese culture is being celebrated this weekend. Want to take a break from Otakon for a little bit? Here are three events you might want to check out: Sake The Fells Point bar Bad Decisions will be hosting a Sake Weekend on Friday and Saturday. Friday, several different kinds of sake will be available, as well as a menu of shochu and sake cocktails (shochu is Japan's other alcoholic beverage of choice). Saturday will feature a four-course dinner beginning at 6 p.m., with each course accompanied by the appropriate sake.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Jordan Bartel, b | July 27, 2011
All of our favorites for the week ahead 1. Otakon I'm not going to pretend that I fully understand Otakon. But you have to respect people so devoted to something that they basically embody its spirit (and characters). During this three-day convention of all things anime, manga and, um, miscellaneous, you can join a horde of costumed folk invading the city. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Friday-Sunday. Baltimore Convention Center, 1 W. Pratt St., Downtown.
BUSINESS
By Chris Korman, The Baltimore Sun | August 13, 2013
For Visit Baltimore CEO Tom Noonan, losing Otakon, the Asian culture festival best known for bringing creatively costumed crowds to downtown, was a significant blow. In fiscal year 2012, the three-day convention had an economic impact of $11.3 million, more than any other event at the Baltimore Convention Center. But Baltimore officials were also disappointed for sentimental reasons. The celebration of anime has been in Baltimore since 1999, when it drew 4,500 people.  Through the years, Noonan said, it formed a bond with the city that benefited sides.
NEWS
By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun | August 11, 2013
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.
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