We (the staff) expect that if you are reading this, you are a parent whose excited kid pleaded for a ticket to this event and you’re wondering what you’re letting them get into. We were once those kids—there’s no being “an adult who operates an anime convention” (a dubious title) without having ever been over the moon about going to them as a kid. In fact, every one of us from the convention director down is an unpaid volunteer—this is a labor of love in the truest sense—and we’re doing it for our attendees, some of whom we hope will be you and yours.

Read the rest of the welcome letter

First of all, what!?

Yeah, we get it. Ohayocon has always catered to a young audience, about 16 to college sophomore, and all the newfangled stuff confuses us sometimes, too. Just as you might have nostalgia for certain aspects of your younger years, we relive the excitement of our anime-convention glory years through the enthusiasm of our younger attendees. We provide a controlled environment for mostly attendee-hosted events and some major “signature events” that we produce ourselves. You may have overheard the terms, “cosplay,” “AMVs,” “panel,” “rave dance,” or “dealers” (not that kind). There’s kind of a lot going on. It’s like a mix between a consumer trade show and a music festival, but it’s indoors in winter, so we’re just playing games and dressing up in costumes most of the time.

But there are adults there, right?

Well, yeah—we have plenty to do for people of every age, and if you’re up for it and the kids are in bed, we have age-restricted programs running into the wee hours on Friday and Saturday nights that are more our speed. Especially since most of our operating staff departments close between 9 and midnight, we like to make sure there’s something for our hard workers to enjoy, too. And generally speaking, it’s the older crowd that brings the dollars for the artists who make it into our weekend-long art fair. (We only accept about 55% of applicants each year, based on quality and variety of offerings.) And as we reflect on our own life-journeys, we recognize a shift in what merchandise from Dealers Room strikes our fancy. There really is something for everyone here.

But is it safe?

It’s about as safe as an amusement park. In other words, we have strong policies about supervision, public behavior and dress, anti-harassment, and what kind of content is permitted at an event depending on whether it is age-restricted or not. We have a staff department of people who are our eyes and ears, reporting on public safety issues if they arise and taking pre-emptive measures to prevent emergencies in the first place. We are required to have police officers present at all times. The venues are a four-star hotel and a public convention center, both of which are required to follow strict public building codes. Some of us are parents, too, and we strive to make an event where we would feel comfortable letting our older kids out of sight for 30 minutes.

What is there for me to do?

So if your kid is 13-17 years old, then you are stuck on site the whole time they’re there. (And if they’re 12 or younger, you have to be together in the same room/hallway all the time.) But let’s say it’s 7 p.m. and they’re going to the Cosplay Expo and the last thing you want to do is sit in a loud auditorium surrounded by excited fans. We are thankful to share a venue with a large bar on the second floor, and there are great restaurants just down the street. We have a quiet lounge for adults and quieter experience rooms like the Yuki Matsuri (“wintertime summer festival”), manga library, and MakerLab. We also invite you to consider volunteering—if you really don’t want to do anything else this weekend, 24 worked hours gets your badge refunded. Just sayin’. Or, you could party! I mean, you do you!

We hope you have fun

We really do! As much as we were anti-parent when we were 17 (and you were, too, don’t lie to us), we are pro-parent now, in the sense that we make an attempt at fun for everyone. If you have a good sense of humor and don’t take Ohayocon too seriously, you’re in the right place. And we know—because people keep coming back eager for more every year, filling up our customer service line with hopes and dreams for future programs and attractions, and getting really amped up on our social platforms—that you and your family will have a great time with us. See you there!

Essential information

Likely the most forgotten information for parents and guardians is the requirement that you are present at the venue the whole time your children are there. For 13-year-olds and up, you don’t have to be in the same room, but you still have to be reachable on site. The most basic information about admission and related policies and procedures is available on the Pricing & Admission Info page. You can also read all of our policies. And if you need to get in touch, we invite you to first read the FAQ and if your question is still unanswered, feel free to contact us.

Pre-sales best practices

We recommend putting your own name on registrations for attendees younger than 18, then going with them to the registration desk to pick them up. Our staff matches the name on the ticket with the name on your acceptable ID in order to prevent others from stealing your badges by claiming to be you. If your child does not have an ID on that list, then this is the only way they can get a pre-sales (also called pre-registration or simply “pre-reg”) badge. (They could buy one at the door with no ID, but that is more expensive than pre-sales.) If you have questions or concerns about this, please reach out.