Nearly 2,000 people gathered in Fredericton for the 13th annual Animaritime convention, raising money for the IWK Health Centre.
Animaritime vendor co-ordinator Eileen MacDonald said it’s a not-for-profit three-day anime, video game and board game event run by volunteers.
“It’s important to us because we want everyone to have a fun, safe place to celebrate their anime and their manga,” MacDonald said.
She said it’s the 13th year the event has taken place, but said it’s the fifth year in Fredericton, after it outgrew its previous two locations in Sackville and Moncton.
“We have a series of panels that are put on again by volunteers — all of our attendees run the panels as well, and they’re just things that are with relation to anime, video games, board games, like anything from how to run a convention, to how to make a ‘plushie,’ to how to speak Japanese, so basically everything that’s involved with the culture,” MacDonald said.
Halifax resident Jessica Turner attended the convention dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and said her costume took nearly 30 hours to make, and said it’s the first time she’s ever done cosplay as a hobby.
Turner said she has attended about 60 anime conventions, mainly through work, and said it’s the people who attend Animaritime who stand out the most.
She said everyone takes photos of each other’s costumes, no matter what their skill level of costume-making is. Turner said she’s made many new friends at Animaritime who she plans on staying in touch with.
Ayla Tebogt from Halifax also attended, dressed as Diane of Seven Deadly Sins and said it’s her sixth time at the convention.
“It’s just a lot of fun every time,” Tebogt said.
She made her costume from scratch and said it took her about two months to make. Tebogt said it’s the people who also stand out to her the most.
MacDonald said the volunteers and staff work hard to make everyone feel safe and accepted, so they can be themselves.
“This is a safe space, and you can be whoever you want to be for the weekend,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald said there was also an auction in support of the IWK Health Centre, and added that the auction and donations at the event raised approximately $2,500.