[Culture] Colorado Anime Fest: Celebrating Anime, Gaming, and Japanese Culture
MARCH 10-12, 2023 @ DENVER MARRIOTT TECH CENTER
(Denver = Wongeol Jeong) The Colorado Anime Fest (COAF) is an annual three-day convention held in Denver that attracts anime, gaming, and Japanese culture enthusiasts from all over the country. COAF's first event was held in February 2016 and since then, the convention has become a staple for many anime and gaming fans.
The convention, held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, provides attendees with a variety of programming options including panels, screenings, and gaming tournaments. One of the most exciting parts of the event is the opportunity to meet and interact with special guests from the anime and gaming industries. COAF also offers a marketplace where attendees can buy anime and gaming-related merchandise.
One of the most recognizable aspects of COAF is its mascots, created by Ryan Zanfei of Tasty Peach Studios. The human mascot is named Sasoko, which means "mountain child" in Japanese, and was named by founding staffers after an internal vote. Sasoko is often dressed according to the convention's annual theme, and staff cosplayers portray her in both adult and chibi form throughout the event.
If you manage to spot Sasoko during the convention, you might just win a prize! Attendees are encouraged to keep an eye out for her, and whoever finds her first can win a special reward.
Another COAF mascot is Rocky, named after the Rocky Mountains which are an iconic part of Colorado's landscape. The Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, which is Colorado's official state animal, served as the inspiration for the character. Rocky's name was chosen by COAF 2016 attendees from a long list of options, some of which were humorously provided by guest Christopher Sabat.
In 2017, Tasty Peach Studios and COAF collaborated to create Rocky Meowchi, a cute limited edition variant featuring a Meowchi (a "cute mochi kitten plush" invented by Ryan) in a Rocky ram kigurumi. This adorable plush has long since sold out, but you may occasionally see Rocky Meowchi on official COAF merchandise like stickers and keychains.
Whether you're a die-hard anime fan or just interested in Japanese culture, the Colorado Anime Fest is an event you won't want to miss. Keep an eye out for upcoming dates and plan your visit to experience all that COAF has to offer!
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