Calgary’s anime and Japanese pop culture celebration Otafest announces expansion

More is better.

And local fans of Japanese pop culture and anime will be getting more and better with the 2020 edition of the annual Otafest gathering, which takes place this year from May 15 to 17.

Organizers have just announced plans to expand the festival this year to include the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel along with the normal Calgary Convention Centre venue.

The new space adds almost 10,000 square feet of room for the fest, including a rooftop patio, “a new performance stage (the “Aurora Stage”), rooms for educational events and late night programming, evening bar service, a repair station for costumers and cosplayers sponsored by The Costume Shoppe, and a casual lounge for meetups, photography and other social programming.”

Organizers are hoping the added space for the festival will help grow it further and cater to more Calgarians wanting their fix of J culture.

“Expanding Otafest’s programming offerings through this expansion has been a huge effort from our team, and a key part of our programming goals,” Vern Townsend, Otafest Vice-Chair of Experiences, said in a release. “We’re really excited to finally be able to share our growth and development with our attendees and the community.”

“Building community is an important part of Otafest’s mandate, and the new expansion will provide informal social spaces for people to meet and connect over shared interests,” Amy Pratt, Otafest Board of Directors, said. “We’re especially excited to be able to highlight local artists and dance groups through showcase events with our new Aurora Stage.”

The complete list of festival events will be announced April 15 on their website

Otafest was formed in 1999 and since 2009 has raised more than $135,000 for charities.