Greg Fennell seems to be more than just hustle and bustle. It’s natural, given that the co-founder of Saboten Con has been spending most of his waking hours preparing for this year’s event.
When Fennell is asked what it’s like to organize a maniacal conference at the end of the pandemic, he becomes a little candid. “I’ll tell you when it’s over,” he says with a laugh. “We’ve been running this event for 13 years and it’s been the hardest time trying to prepare for it this year.”
That includes planning around COVID-19. Hence why masks will be a thing during this year’s Saboten Con – which runs from Friday, September 3, to Sunday, September 6, at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 North Third Street. Fennell says attendees will be required to wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking. Social distancing will be encouraged.
Saboten Con—focusing on anime, manga, and Japanese pop culture in general—will be the largest geek event to be staged in Arizona since the pandemic began. This event has been held annually since 2008 at various locations across Metro Phoenix and has been attended by over 10,000 people in previous years.
Fennell says he feels there are a lot of people watching how their events are going.
“It just adds to the tension we’re feeling. We’re the first really big people [con] It’s been happening since this whole thing started. I’m not worried that we won’t do a good job but we give an example of what can happen when you run a scam right now. We are like a test model. I don’t want to say we carry the flag into battle, but it kind of looks like that.”
Fennell says Saboten Con 2021 will be their largest event in terms of number of programmes, with more than 500 different events, activities and workshops throughout the weekend. And if you need some help deciding what to do (or are new to Saboten Con), we’ve put together a guide for this year’s event to help you plan.
When and where will Saboten Con 2021 be?
Sheraton Phoenix Downtown, 340 North Third Street, will host Saboten Con 2021 and various vendors, events, programs, workshops and commissions. Official business hours are from noon to 2 a.m. on Friday, September 3rd; 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday 4 September and Sunday 5 September; and from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, September 6th.
How much is admission?
Prices vary depending on the days you wish to attend. daily admission $30 on Friday, $35 on Saturday and Sunday, or $20 on Sunday. a full pass The full scam covers $60.
Are there any age limits?
In general, no. The conference is open to all ages, but some adult-oriented programs and panels are over 18 events.
What are the safety rules for COVID-19?
Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times when not eating or drinking. Attendees should also maintain social distancing whenever possible. Both event security will apply and those who do not comply will be required to leave.
How do I get there?
Since the event takes place in the heart of downtown Phoenix, you may want to consider taking the train. Several parking and rides are available along the light rail route – including those at 19th Avenue, Montebello, Seventh Avenue, Camelback Road, and Washington and 38th Streets – and several light rail stations are within walking distance of the hotel. The fare is $2 for one trip, and $4 for the whole day.
Where can I park?
Since some Saboten Con attendees, including those in more elaborate costumes and equipment, may need to drive to the event, there are multiple places to stash your car downtown. Parking at the hotel itself will run you $29 per day, while rates at nearby garages and lots range from $10 (CityScape, Jefferson Street Garage) to $20 (Collier Center, Chase Tower) per day. Street parking is also available throughout downtown, but you’ll have to pay up to $1.50 an hour from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
How will the weather be?
Hot as you’d expect, given that we’re at the end of summer. Temperatures will be between 101 and 105 throughout the weekend with plenty of sunshine. You’ll want to stay hydrated, especially if you’re wearing a costume.
What will be in the exhibitor hall?
Virtually anything and everything related to anime, manga, or Japanese culture, in general, will be on sale in the hotel’s spacious exhibitor hall at Saboten Con. More than 70 vendors and booths participating in the event will offer a wide range of items and costumes, as well as artwork, books, DVDs, games, music, books, collectibles, toys and other toys.
How will the programming be?
To put it mildly, a lot will happen during the four days of Saboten Con. The programming schedule includes over 500 different events, including competitions such as anime watching parties, game battles, lip-sync fights, maid cafes, fan fiction readings, dance parties, trivia quizzes, animated music video quizzes, art workshops, and karaoke sessions . Live entertainment is also planned, such as traditional concerts, karaoke sessions, and more.
Who are the special guests this year?
Special Guests: Special guests include animation industry legends Les and Mary Claypool, J-rock band Kazha and voice actresses such as Olivia Hack, Jackie Lastra and Faye Mata. Others featured are famous cosplayers D. Piddy, Ashenqueen, Courtney Leigh and local group Superheroes Unlimited. Full guest list available Here.
Will there be fashion this year?
naturally. Cosplay is the centerpiece of the event and there will be over 100 different paintings and workshops dedicated to themes related to cinematography. Do you want to learn how to enter the quest and create your own costume? There are many tutorials on how to do this, as well as tutorials on how to build armor, learn to embroider, develop character, build your self-esteem in costumes, stay within a budget, connect with others, and accessorize with style.
One of the biggest cosplay events of the weekend will be the annual Saboten Con Masquerade Party Sunday night at 8pm at the Valley of the Sun Ballroom, which will feature performances and some of the most impressive and elaborate costumes in the event.
However, as with any event that involves wearing costumes, Saboten Con requires a certain level of respect for costume surfers, so be sure to ask permission before taking pictures of anyone.
What should I bring?
Besides a face covering or a mask, comfortable shoes are also an excellent idea, as is an ID if you want to get into any of the adult shows, and a camera for photos of all the costumes and unforgettable experiences. And if you plan to pick up some things at the vendors’ hall or buy some water from a vendor, cash is always good and a bag the right size for carrying your cargo is even better.
What should I not bring?
Since respect is a big thing at any event like Saboten Con, leave any kind of disrespectful, intolerant, impatient, fighting or creepy behavior at home. And while supporting weapons are certainly encouraged, you should refrain from bringing any actual weapons to the event.