Otafest raises $16,500 for Skipping Stone foundation
by Riggs Zyrille Vergara, Publishing Editor
Otafest, a Calgary non-profit pop culture and anime festival, raises 16,500 on May 21-22 for Skipping Stone, a foundation supporting trans and gender diverse youth, adults and families through comprehensive and low barrier access to resources.
Otafest managed to raise these funds through different events that transpired during the convention which took place at the Telus Convention Centre. After three years of the Otafest conducting their events and panels online, they have returned to being in-person this year.
“I was so humbled to be able to do this again in-person… I couldn’t be more proud of this community and I also want to thank my staff members for supporting me through all this. It’s been a challenging weekend and I couldn’t be more proud of my team for everything we did,” Jenny Chan, this year’s chair of the Otafest said during the closing program.
One of the events which raised funds for Skipping Stone is the charity auction where items curated by Otafest themselves and items donated by their partner sponsors and guests made way for around $7,000 of the raised funds.
Another event is the Sketch Drive where Otafest invited various artists to sketch convention attendees during the weekend for a small fee. Half of the payment goes to the Skipping Stone foundation and the other half goes to the artists themselves.
Attendees can also purchase Angel Passes which are specialty tickets that can provide priority access to events and other perks to the convention attendees. Otafest also operated a Maid and Butler Café where attendees can pay a ticket to get served meals, desserts, drinks and gift bags by people cosplaying as or dressing up as maids and butlers who will even give them a dance performance. Portions of the fees and tickets raised for the Angel Passes and Maid and Butler Café also went to the Skipping Stone foundation.
For 24 years, Otafest has been providing a space and community where fans and enthusiasts of pop culture and anime can celebrate their art, passions and love for animated media. Most notable in conventions like Otafest are people dressing up like the characters that they admire, an art form called “cosplay”.
When asked what they look forward to the most about Otafest, cosplayer and avid Otafest attendee Alison says, “Just being around people and watching people cosplaying. For cosplayers, that’s a big part of it. We always say, ‘See and be seen’. It’s all about showing off your work and your art.”