After months of speculation along with the ongoing pandemic and the concern for public safety, it has been announced that FanimeCon 2021 will be an all virtual event.
The FanimeCon Chair Team announced that there will be no live event in 2021 and that everything will be hosted online. Those who purchased a pass will have it rolled over to the 2022 event. Since the official hotel block had never opened, anyone who booked a room outside of the official block will have to cancel it before the hotels deadline.
Merchants and artists who have reserved a spot will be informed about their options in the coming days. FanimeCon is also working on ways the community could help support local artists who have been financially hurt during the pandemic.
The announcement was expected by the FanimeCon community and was welcomed given the current situation.
Information about the virtual panels and online events will be made available in the future. It’s unclear what an all digital FanimeCon will look like since this will be the first time the event has been all virtual. The 2020 event was cancelled and there was no officially organized digital version.
In response to the 2020 event being cancelled, members of the community organized to host a series of unofficial digital events. These events were not coordinated by any staffer but instead organized at the last minute by volunteers. Members of the community would share stories in the unofficial Facebook group or host a virtual cosplay gathering.
Several organizers also hosted digital versions of panels that have been a staple of FanimeCon. Andre Pena hosted several digital events along with his popular “Cthulhu for President!” panel. The Foundation for the Preservation of Gen 1 Pokemon only hosted the popular “Fifth Gen Isn’t Pokemon” panel. The Cosplay Wrestling Federation also hosted a few online panels along with a digital iteration of Fanimania. BAR Con also hosted their first virtual event that weekend with performances by Odyssey Eurobeat, Pheri, and Alicia (from Kyozo).
FanimeCon was not the only convention to cancel their live event during the weekend. The Game Developers Conference announced that they too will host an all digital event in 2021. Other conventions like BayCon and Sac-Con have already cancelled any 2021 plans in favor of 2022. Events scheduled for late 2021 are monitoring the pandemic before making the call to cancel live events.
FanimeCon is one of the largest fan organized anime conventions in North America and has taken place during the Memorial Day weekend. From the special guests to the many cosplay gatherings and the musical performances, the convention is known for hosting a variety of events during a 24 hour cycle.