Ladies and gentlemen, and children of all ages flocked to the Arkanime Festival in Bentonville, Arkansas. Over 1000 attendees at this simple two day con, the first weekend in March. The spring festival acts and smaller sequel to the three day convention held in the same place every fall. For those who cannot make it to the fall one this fun filled spring con is the way to go.
Always keeping the conventions family friendly can be hard. But Arkanime succeeds every time with it’s wide range of activities. In addition to the usual gaming room and video viewing room where one can try out the latest anime and game systems for free, Arkanime added a special room for those who either brought a child, or want to embrace their inner one. THE LEGO ROOM!
Aside from the LEGO building contest they had, there were piles of Lego’s you could just play with. Sit down and build a tower. Or a barn. Or a Triforce. Or a sub-machine gun form Halo. This room had people in it all day and was a rousing success.
Speaking of contests, this year a group auctioned off Dobby from Harry Potter. Sadly, I did not win, but that doesn’t mean I cannot post a picture of him to share with all of you!
Taking the main stage this years, once again was the dance contest. Available to all attendees, regardless of age, one could get on the platform and shake what yo-momma-gave-ya! The audience decides the winners, as they cheer for the most acrobatic, groovy worthy or just the most adorable. The best part was everyone got a chance to see it! The layout of the convention has the Artist Alley in the same room as the main stage. With the panel rooms flanking each side, everyone was able to watch. This layout has really worked the past few years and is one of the best for a con this size. Having the stage there also allows for more group fun. It is no dance contest but was just as entertaining.
With such exhausting events going on, you could search for a drinking fountain or head over to the Cosplay Cafe. Here, two lovely ladies entertained you with jokes, dances or skits while you helped yourself to tea, coffee or other snacks. Did I mention it was all free? No? Well it was all free. A few packs of instant tea in the right environment makes you feel like you are at a high class social. More and more conventions are trying the Cafe, whether it be Maid, lolita, or traditional Kimono. It is a nice entertainment for those who need to come down from the Mountain Dew and Ramen diet.
Overall, for a two day con, Arkanime offers enough entertainment, anime and fun for everyone. A definite yearly stop for those in the area, or 5 hours away like me.