FanimeCon (also known as simply Fanime) is an annual anime convention run by the Anime Resource Group (ARG). It is the largest anime convention in Northern California and the 5th largest North American anime convention as of 2013. The convention was not ranked in 2014 due to its attendance being shared with the steampunk convention Clockwork Alchemy. Originally conceived by Aaron Pilgrim, Jay Onda and Dennis Jann as a gathering of local anime clubs in Northern California, the first one was held at California State University, Hayward. The anime clubs at that first Fanime were Beefbowl Anime, Chabot Anime, Foothill Anime and No-Name Anime.
Later, it was held at the Foothill College campus in Los Altos Hills, and it then moved to the Santa Clara Convention Center. In 2004, FanimeCon was held in the San Jose Convention Center over Memorial Day weekend where it generated more than $5M in local economic impact. The convention continues to be held annually at that location.
FanimeCon also plays host to Clockwork Alchemy, a steampunk convention that occurs at the same time in an adjacent hotel. Clockwork Alchemy provides events such as steampunk gaming, a steampunk film festival, and a steampunk fashion show. Clockwork Alchemy has also featured several musical acts, including Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox and Lee Presson and the Nails.
FanimeCon was first held on June 19, 1994 at California State University in Hayward, California as a free anime convention. FanimeCon stayed at California State University until 1996 when the convention moved to Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California. Anime Resource Group (ARG) was formed the same year as the parent organization. 1996 was also the first year the convention became a paid event.
Hiroyuki Yamaga became FanimeCon's first Japanese guest of honor in 1997. The programming expanded to include an art show, a cosplay show, an anime game show, and live music. In 1998 FanimeCon expanded to two days and became a three day convention the following year. FanimeCon moved to the Santa Clara Convention Center in 2000 where it stayed for four years before moving to the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in 2004.
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