Colossalcon expects colossal year

Thousands flock to Kalahari Resort in costume this weekend to celebrate Japanese culture
Alissa Widman Neese
Jun 7, 2014

Those folks wandering around town this weekend in colorful, complex costumes haven't forgotten the date of Halloween.

Colossalcon, one of the largest anime, gaming and Japanese culture conventions in Ohio, has returned to the Sandusky area this weekend for its fifth year at Kalahari Resort.

Popular movie, television and video game characters from across the world will come to life, ranging from the Disney princesses to Minecraft Steve and everyone in between.

A.J. Ayd, vice chair of the four-day event, said he expects it'll be the area's largest conglomeration of convention goers yet. 

"Our numbers are crazy this year," Ayd said. "We have five partner hotels, and three are completely booked."

Colossalcon started in Cleveland 13 years ago before it relocated to the sizeable Kalahari Resort and Convention Center.

Its goal: fun and fandom, and an opportunity to attract an array of people, typically nearing 10,000, to the local area.

The greatest perk, according to Colossalcon enthusiasts: meeting new people who share common interests.

"We're like a big, happy, slightly dysfunctional family," said third-year attendee Shayna "Nilly" Reiff, of Cleveland, who spent Friday dressed in a homemade, full-body suit shaped like the Pokémon "Scraggy."

Despite the family ties, anyone — even first-timers — can attend Colossalcon by purchasing a day pass, available at varying prices, or a $55 pass for the entire weekend. 

All guests can then purchase discounted Kalahari water park passes.

Popular guests at Colossalcon this year include voice actors Vic Mignogna ("Fullmetal Alchemist"), Jonny Yong Bosch ("Akira"), Cherami Leigh (“Witchblade"), and Cree Summer ("Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance,"), "The Walking Dead" actress Savana Wehunt, and "Mad TV" cast member Phil Lamarr.

The event also will feature its classic attractions, including merchandise vendors, discussion panels, costume competitions, games, dances and autograph sessions.

Perhaps the most appealing opportunity: gawking at the costumed characters, such as Miranda Shoultz of Michigan.

Shoultz, clad in shimmery black and yellow and sporting a 10-pound, horned helmet, even spoke as Homestuck web series character Mituna Captor during an interview with the Register on Friday. Both Shoultz and Reiff said they spent weeks crafting their costumes.

While in character, Shoultz said she enjoys entertaining people and making them laugh.

"This helmet weighs 10 pounds," she said proudly, flexing her muscles. "You can't find this stuff on eBay."

Go to for more information, including event schedules and guest profiles.


Want to go?

WHAT: Colossalcon, an anime, gaming and Japanese culture convention

WHEN: All day today through Sunday

WHERE: Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, 7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky

COST: $30 Friday, $35 Saturday, $20 Sunday or $55 for a weekend pass; includes discounted water park pass


The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

These conventions are a lot of fun and a great way to indulge in a fandom. Plus the creativity on display is dazzling!


Wow 10,000 Otaku in Sandusky? That's got to be some sort of local record.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

We are legion.

As someone who spends a vast amount of time in the sub-pop culture I can assure you there are many more of us than anyone may think. There is an entire, somewhat-silent culture and movement that exists and is otherwise unknown by the older generations. As it bleeds into the political landscape, I talked about that in another thread. A subtle and vast cultural shift will be happening more in quantity and quickness as time passes.


I'm glad we have Colossalcon! Being a cartooning and cosplay enthusiast, it's very hard to find people with similar interests around here. That makes this kind of get-together something to look forward to every year, although I've also traveled out of state for a few Comic-Cons. During my high school years, I felt very self-conscious about others knowing about my love for cosplay and cartooning. But ever since Colossalcon came around, I've learned to embrace my geekiness even more after seeing everyone else showing off their similar interests without a care in the world of what people might say or think. I can't thank the people enough who've brought Colossalcon to Sandusky!

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"One of us, one of us!" Wear that belt on your head with pride, heh. You aren't the only one in your enthusiasm for fandoms.


To each their own but Walmart was hilarious! Wish I had NY phone!