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Meetup with Cosplayers and Fans during a Gathering

Whether you are a cosplayer, photographer or just are a fan of an anime or series, cosplay gatherings are a great place to meet new friends.  Attendees can signup to host a cosplay gathering and if approved, our team will put them on our convention schedule.  More information on when and where this years cosplay gatherings will occur will be released with our convention schedule.

Submission Deadline is February 1st, 2023.

Chicago Cosplay and Photographer Meetup

The team that organizes the Chicago Cosplay and Photographer Meetup will be at Anime Central this year.  Not only will you be able to meet cosplayers and photographers from the Chicago area, they will be setup in Hall F of the convention center and offering photo services.  Photos will be free of charge for free online, and a limited number of prints will be made available at the convention.

For more information about the Chicago Cosplay and Photographer Meetup group, you can find them on facebook.

Cosplay Gathering Host Policy

All hosts are required to be aware of and agree to abide by the terms of this policy before being able to submit a Gathering Application. If there is anything you do not understand about this policy, please contact us at and we will clarify it for you.

Each gathering must select one host and one back-up host. The host will act as the point of contact for a gathering and has the responsibility of coordinating with Anime Central staff about the details of their gathering. The lead host is the only member of a gathering that can make changes to a gathering such as description/content changes, schedule change requests, etc. Any requests, questions or concerns should be directed to The host is responsible for ensuring that all members of their group are up to date on everything regarding the gathering as well as know, understand and follow the Gathering Host Policy for the current year.

Only the host will be contacted regarding a gathering’s status. It is the responsibility of the host to communicate any information to any back-up hosts.

Cosplay Gatherings Application

All gathering applications must undergo formal submission, review, and approval before the gathering is included in the Anime Central convention programming.

  1. All decisions regarding acceptance or denial of gathering requests are made at the sole discretion of the Costuming Events management team.
  2. Gathering applications will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Those who apply first have a greater chance of getting a gathering slot and their requested date/time. Applications submitted after the February 1st deadline will be put on a wait list and will be considered only if we have space available.
  3. A single host or back up host may not participate in hosting more than 4 gatherings total. This is to avoid difficulty in scheduling. If a host is involved in 4 gatherings, the 4th gathering will likely be scheduled on the Sunday of the convention.
  4. Gatherings may only be changed prior to February 1st. Changes must be submitted by the host, with the back-up host on the request email (if the host is stepping down). After the February 1st deadline all gatherings will be locked to the hosts that are registered for it.
  5. Hosts cannot limit the attendance to their gathering.
  6. A gathering cannot charge their attendees money. Hosts may not sell anything during their gathering including but not limited to photography services or merchandise. Any gathering found participating in these or similar activities will be canceled and will not be allowed to return.
  7. A host may not pass out or sell ANY food or drink, store-bought or homemade. This includes, but is not limited to candy, chips/pretzels, pocky, ramen, water, soda pop, tea and coffee. Any gathering found participating in these or similar activities will be canceled and will not be allowed to return.

Cosplay Gatherings Scheduling

  1. All Gatherings are 30 minutes or 1 hour long.
  2. Hosts MUST begin wrap-up a minimum of 5 minutes before the scheduled ending time. This is so they will be able to clear the space and end in time for the next gathering to set up.
  3. Gatherings that begin late due to late arrival and/or missing host will still be required to end as scheduled.
  4. In the event of late or missing hosts participants may elect a new host but gatherings that begin more than 15 minutes late due to lack of participants will be canceled making the space available for general use.
  5. Hosts may end a gathering before the scheduled listing making the space available for general use.
  6. Anime Central retains the right to reschedule a gathering to a different time or location at any time for any reason. The gathering host will be notified if any changes are made to their gathering.
  7. Hosts may request a change to the scheduled date for their gathering before February 1st. It may not be possible for Anime Central staff to grant all time change requests. Time slots and gatherings locations are given out on a first come first serve basis.
  8. Hosts must inform us of when they are absolutely not available due to arrival/departure times, work schedules, or involvement in other ACen events such as panels, masquerade, etc while filling out the gathering application. We will consider this when placing gatherings into the schedule. We must be informed of this in the application form. Any times selected as available will be considered during scheduling.
  9. In the event of rain, alternate locations will be available to those without cover if the host chooses to change locations.

Cosplay Gatherings Management

  1. All gatherings are to remain clear of vegetation and off structures.
  2. Unscheduled or clear locations  are open for general use.
  3. In the event a location becomes unsuitable during a gathering the host may relocate to a new space if it is safe and clear to do so.
  4. Hyatt and Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (DESCC) staff have priority use of location space at all times and may have gatherings relocate for any reason.
  5. Hosts must yield to Hyatt, DESCC, and Anime Central staff as well as management decisions. Any violation of this may result in gatherings being cancelled and the offending host(s) being prohibited from applying to participate in future Anime Central conventions. This includes following direction given by staff, and conduct with staff. Belligerent and/or rude encounters will be subject to disciplinary action.
  6. If pre-setup is required it needs to be completed and attendees let in by 10 minutes past the scheduled start.
  7. Early arrivals are to remain clear of the  area until  the preceding  gatherings time has ended.

Host Conduct

Hosts are expected to behave in a professional manner when coordinating with Anime Central staff and while conducting gatherings at the convention. For policy violations see the section on Disciplinary Actions.

  1. Inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated. It is Anime Central staff’s right to determine what is considered inappropriate.
  2. Hosts may not consume alcohol just before or while conducting a gathering.
  3. Hosts may not offer food and/or drink to attendees while conducting a gathering. This includes, but is not limited to candy, tea, pocky, etc.
  4. Behavior deemed inappropriate during gatherings where legal minors (defined as those under 18 years of age) may attend could result in the termination of a gathering in progress and/or the cancellation of a host’s scheduled gathering(s).

Disciplinary Actions

All disciplinary actions are at the discretion of Costuming Events management and may vary in severity based on the violation. Violation of the terms of this policy may result in:

  1. Termination of a gathering in progress and/or cancellation of a host(s) scheduled gathering(s).
  2. Probation for the next convention year that a group requests to conduct a gathering.
  3. Hosts violating the terms of this policy while on probation will be subject to being banned from conducting a gathering for a minimum of two convention years. During this time, banned hosts may not submit gathering requests to Anime Central or act as hosts during the convention.
  4. Extreme violation of the terms of this policy will result in immediate banning from conducting gatherings at Anime Central for a period of no less than two years and may result in a permanent ban. It is up to Anime Central staff to decide the severity of the violation.