|Larissa in her Beautiful Cosplay|
When I heard that the City of Riverside was starting a Lunar Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year in 2011 I had to attend. My experience at the time was a great experience, but I felt that I could personally add something to make it a fun experience. I thought about incorporating events in the festival that had some appeal to anime fans. This idea was in the back of my head, but I felt that it would not really be something to work on if the Riverside Lunar Festival organizers did not support my endeavors. There was serendipitous timing on my part when May Davis, the chair of the Lunar Festival, contacted me to add Cosplay events for the Riverside Lunar Festival. With the full support of Lunar Fest, Anime Expo, and a great team of event planners, we have created the first cosplay event at the Riverside Lunar Festival.
|Mami and Homura|
It was so great seeing many familiar faces in the cosplay community and the cosplay photography community. I ended up doing four shoots before the day ended, which was below the eight I scheduled. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances got in the way of a couple of cosplayers. One was stuck in traffic since she drove a long distance to the event and by the time she arrived, we had to start prepping for the cosplay fashion show. I really did not have any issues, except for my first shoot. I was doing a shoot and was told by Mission Inn security that I could not do any photography with my “professional level equipment” without permission from the hotel. During the shoot, a rude man was doing catcalls to my cosplayer, which interrupted the flow of my shoot, rude jerk. Aside from that, the flow of the shoots went well.
|Richard and Sam talking to|
the Yuna Cosplayer.
Having cosplay events at the Riverside Lunar Festival means a lot to me because it is the closest thing we have in the Inland Empire to our own major cosplay event. We had a great turnout and I feel that there is potential to grow it far beyond where it is now. I have many amazing ideas to add more programming so we can establish the Riverside Lunar Festival as an amazing event for cosplay/anime fans to attend. With my great team, I was able to create a great event that was only hopes and dreams only 3 months ago. I am so proud of what we did to make this even happen, and next year will be even better.
I would like to thank several people and groups who supported the event to make it a reality:
- May Lynn Davis: As the chair of the Lunar Festival, she contacted me and initiated what would become the cosplay events at the Lunar Festival. They have given me the best support that I could possibly need in running the event.
- Richard Phon and Samuel Wall: They hosted the Lunar Festival and we wrote the script of the Lunar Festival together. It was a new experience for them to host the event, so give them time to polish their craft and get good at it. For their first time they did a great job.
- Samantha Honda: Samantha was my main assistant when it came to reaching out to the local cosplay community. She helped so much to make the event work so well.
- Anime Expo: The organization donated 57 Miku Posters, 150 Anime Expo Postcards, and 200 shirts. It really got the crowd excited during the cosplay fashion show.
- Cosplayers: Thank you all for attending the event and making the first cosplay event at the Lunar Festival a great event. I hope you all had a great time and I will continue to expand cosplay programming to make future Lunar Festivals even more exciting for the anime/cosplay community.
Kris Zoleta started working in Anime Expo as a staffer in Manga Library. He worked in Staff Service in Anime Expo 2006 and became the manager of Manga Lounge from Anime Expo 2007-2010. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for the Promotion of Japanese Animation, the 501(c)(6) non-profit behind Anime Expo and is one of the most recognized cosplay photographers in the West Coast.