Now in its lucky thirteenth year, Zenkaikon is truly a mainstay in downtown Lancaster. Each year, fans and onlookers gather to see what sort of costumes attendees will come up with this time around. Beyond that, however, is a community of enthusiasts that take at least three days out of the year to indulge in the things they love the most. The festival kicks off on Friday, March 22, at 9 a.m. and runs through the closing ceremony on Sunday, March 24, at 4:30 p.m. Tickets and more information can be found here.
We've pulled together five of the different aspects of Zenkaikon we're most looking forward to checking out. Read below and let us know if we forgot anything.
1. This year's folklore theme
Since it's the thirteenth year of the convention, it was only right to make this year's theme all things superstitious. To that end, not only will there be a "Lucky 13"-themed scavenger hunt taking place all weekend, but there will be two panels dedicated to folklore - "Stupid Superstitions & Creepy Curses" on Friday and "Folklore of Pennsylvania and the Lancaster Area" on Saturday. Prepare your Albatwitch traps accordingly.
2. Video game tournaments
One of the lesser-noted but interesting facets of Zenkaikon is its yearly gaming room. Stocked with consoles new and old - as well as a trusty "Dance Dance Revolution" rig - the gaming room is a perfect spot to rest your feet or bide time between panels. As always, there will be tournaments throughout the weekend with games that test your competitive spirit. Games such as "Tekken 7," "Rocket League" and "Super Smash Bros Ultimate" will be on hand, so start practicing now.
3. Cosplay Pro Wrestling
Yes, you read that correctly. What might sounds like a fever dream combination of the already-cartoonish world of pro wrestling with dozens of pop culture figures is exactly that. Take the recent packed room Tellus360 received for National Pro Wrestling Day as an indication that you might want to show up early to Freedom Hall A on Sunday.
4. Local food specials
As Zenkaikon's profile rises with each passing year, more local eateries are offering nerd-centric specials for all of the hungry cosplayers. Whether it's a "Ham Solo" sandwich at Cabalar Meat Co. or Silantra's now-yearly custom Pokemon card coupon, it won't be difficult to find a restaurant speaking your language this weekend. One small gripe - though Harvest Moon Bagel Company's "Sailor Moon" themed cookies look delectable, how great would some sort of bagel tribute to the classic 1997 farming simulator of the same name be?
5. A mix of the popular and obscure
As nerd culture continues to grow as a multi-billion dollar industry each year, it makes perfect sense that the formerly obscure becomes popular, with new properties to take their place. In our years covering Zenkaikon, we've seen it as a perfect hub for the surface level nerd to unabashedly enjoy "Pokemon" "Super Mario Bros." and the hardcore anime fan to show off their love of "Mob Psycho 100" or "Sgt. Frog."