Dear Anime Central Community,
We want to thank all of you for being patient with us while we have been monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and what that means for the event and your safety. We have been working closely with our internal teams and external partners to fully grasp and understand all the options available to us, and most importantly, if we would be able to deliver the same quality of an event safely.
With that being said, it is with the heaviest of hearts that we are announcing that we are canceling the Anime Central 2020 event slated for May 15-17, 2020. Our Board of Directors and Anime Central Leaders did not come to this decision lightly, and carefully considered all the options available to us. One of the options was to reschedule the event for later in the year; however, we came to the conclusion that the quality of the event would not be the same. In addition, it would also pull resources and planning time away from the next convention Anime Central 2021. Our 2021 convention will be held May 21-23, 2021.
It’s no secret that it takes a lot to run a large event like ours. There are so many moving pieces, countless hours of volunteerism, and a lot of love for the community. Cancellation is not an easy thing to deal with, and it’s hitting our industry very hard right now.
While we are heartbroken, we take this time to recognize the individuals, volunteers and organizations who invested their time and resources into our 2020 convention. We thank our volunteers for their great ideas, the hard work, laughs, camaraderie, and teamwork they bring to table every year that makes this convention a success. We thank the Village of Rosemont who welcomes our community with open arms each spring as we more than quadruple its population for a weekend of Anime fun and to celebrate our community. We thank our Guests, Panelists, Gatherings Hosts, and Performers for all of the work they’ve already put into their events for this year’s convention; we sincerely hope you’ll be back with us again for our 2021 event. We thank each and every one of our Industry Partners, Exhibitors, and Artists; we know this time is hitting most of you more than others. This upcoming weekend and throughout the week we will be featuring them on our social media outlets. We encourage the community, if they can, to support these groups by buying merchandise from them. And we thank you, our fans, for standing by us and helping build the amazing community around this event. You’ve shown us time and time again how Anime Central is a part of your lives, favorite memories, and what the spirit of ACen means to you. We take that to heart every time we get together, and will use that to guide us into our 2021 event.
What Does the Cancellation Mean for Attendees?
As we navigate through this cancellation process, we want to break down what this will mean for the various areas of our convention and be as transparent as possible for what that will mean for 2021. We will provide updates as they become available.
All attendees who pre-registered for 2020 memberships will be automatically rolled over for our 2021 convention. We’ve seen the community ask how they can support events that are cancelling due to the coronavirus. As a non-profit organization, this option would help us close out the remaining financial commitments open for 2020 and begin planning for 2021.
We do understand that not everyone will be able to attend our convention in 2021. Any attendee who would prefer to have a refund on their pre-registration must fill out the following refund request form by April 20, 2020.
We are aware some members who transfer to 2021 will have paid more for their 2020 membership than the first tier rate for 2021. To adjust for this difference, we will be offering a coupon (delivered digitally) that can be used at the official Anime Central Merch Booth located in the Exhibit Hall at the event. The coupon will be valued at the difference between the tier the member registered in for 2020 and the first tier for 2021 memberships, and will be usable towards any of the official Anime Central Merchandise at the booth.
Retailers and Artists
Retailers and Artists who are registered for Anime Central 2020 will automatically be rolled over to our 2021 event. In addition, we will be offering a refund for those who cannot yet make the commitment to join us again. Any Retailer or Artist who would prefer to have a refund on their booth registration must fill out the following refund request form by April 20, 2020.
If refunded, they are welcome to apply again for 2021 when applications open if there are any open spaces at that time.
Many of our Retailers and Artists make their living by exhibiting at shows like ours across the country. Attendees have asked us how they can support them through these times. We encourage the community, if they can, to support these groups by purchasing their merchandise. The current list of Exhibitors and Artists are listed on our website, and if they have an online shop, it will be listed in their Anime Central company profile. In addition, we will be featuring them on our social media over the next couple of weeks.
Panels and Cosplay Gatherings
All Cosplay Gatherings will be cancelled and need to be resubmitted for the 2021 event when the application reopens. Panels and Live Events will be contacted by their event coordination teams to discuss options moving forward for ACen 2021.
All reservations made with any of our partner hotels or a third-party service should be directly canceled with them. Please contact them and work directly with that hotel as Anime Central is unable to assist with these reservations.
Most of the hotels in our room blocks have not taken out the first night’s deposit. For those who have, please work with your hotel to cancel your reservation and have them refund your deposit.
Hotel reservations cannot be rolled over to the 2021 convention. Room blocks for Anime Central 2021 will open in September 2020.
We will be working with our guests to determine which ones we can reconfirm for the 2021 event. This may take some time as we work through schedules, balance commitments on both sides, and figure out the best paths forward. We thank you for your patience as we sort this out, and look forward to giving you more information as soon as we can.
Our staff has spent the better part of a year pouring their hearts into this event and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we all work through this together. We are so lucky to have built such a great anime community here in the Midwest and for now, all we want is for everyone to remain healthy and safe. We will be back and we will all come together again to make new memories, reunite with our friends, and have an amazing weekend together. We truly hope you’ll join us next year May 21-23 for Anime Central 2021.