Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cosplay @ Riverside Lunar Festival 2012

Lunar Fest shoot with my friend Richard

There is a fairly large Asian population in the Inland Empire, which is why the Riverside Lunar Festival was started. This was an event in the beautiful downtown area of Riverside that was a celebration of Japanese and Chinese culture that culminated in a fireworks show. For its inaugural year it was a great event that had a massive turnout from the Inland Empire. For its second year I have been tasked with getting more representation from the Southern California cosplay community. I will talk about the serendipitous coincidence of events that led to me heading the cosplay aspect of the events, it was a perfect storm on many levels.

My connection with the event first started back in the Riverside Lunar Festival. I went to the event with a couple of friends to the event who were Anime Expo staffers. We were pleased at the huge turnout and the events highlighting both Chinese and Japanese culture was impressive. I expected the Lunar festival to have a strong focus on the Chinese culture, instead it seemed that there was some impressive representation from the Japanese end, with lots of Japanese food, Taiko drum demonstrations, and kimono fashion shows. As I walked around downtown Riverside, it occurred to me as a photographer that the area is filled with amazing shots for photoshoots. Richard Phon, manager of Anime Expo's Manga Lounge volunteered to be my subject in the shoot and we had a blast moving from location to location. The event ended with a great fireworks show that showcased the closing of the festival.

After the event ended, it was at the back of my mind that the area would be a great area for cosplay photoshoots. During the event, there was heavy Japanese representation, except on the cosplay end. I felt that there should be more cosplay representation since it fit perfectly with the event. After Anime Expo 2011, I had the pleasure of attending a Corona cosplay gathering that had a pleasant amount of cosplay representation. During Anime Expo and this Corona cosplay gathering, it occurred to me that there was actually quite a bit of cosplayers in the Inland Empire. Putting two and two together I thought that it would be nice if we had a cosplay gathering at the Riverside Lunar Festival.

On early November, one of the people running the Riverside Lunar Festival got in contact with me. She mentioned that she loves my cosplay photography and would like to see some cosplayers in the Riverside Lunar Festival. As great as it was, I was not entirely sure if the cosplay community would attend the event. A couple of nights later, I get in contact with my friend who ran the Corona cosplay gathering to see if having cosplay events at the Riverside Lunar Festival was possible. The mix of enthusiasm from the people running the event and the enthusiasm from the cosplayers inspired me to really push hard to make this a huge success.

There are three main things I want to emphasize for this event:
  • Cosplay Photoshoots: Downtown Riverside is a gorgeous area for photoshoots. Only 10 steps away from the festival is the gorgeous Mission Inn with its amazing architecture. Right on festival grounds is a gorgeous garden near the Riverside Library. If you walk a couple of blocks away, the Riverside Mall is a great locale for shoots, with its fountains, statues, and beautiful greenery. There are also Victorian-style houses and buildings in the area the provide for gorgeous backdrops. For cosplayers and cosplay photographers, Downtown Riverside is an amazing place.
  • Cosplay Gathering (2pm at the Pagoda): We will have our cosplay gathering at the iconic pagoda between the Riverside Library and the Mission Inn. It will be a nice way for everyone to meet and greet each other. It will also be the main area where I start getting information from cosplayers for our fashion show.
  • Cosplay Fashion Show (3pm at one of the stages): There will be a fashion show to showcase your beautiful cosplay in front of a large crowd. We currently are planning on having an MC who will do a variety of roles. All the entries will get a nice prize from Anime Expo and the most popular one will be getting an extra special prize from Anime Expo.
With the backing of Riverside Lunar Festival and prizes from Anime Expo, this event looks like it has the potential to be quite impressive to say the least. I hope that the cosplayers and the cosplay photographers who will attend will have a great time.

Links: thread on Riverside Lunar Festival
Facebook Event Page


amateur_cameko said...

When in 2012 is it?

Rich$Con said...


KrisZ said...

It is on January 28th, On a Saturday :D

Regina said...

It is so awesome that you are doing a riverside event. Looking forward to it, hopefully we can do a photoshoot.