LAYTON -- About 3,000 visitors are expected to attend the sixth annual Anime Banzai celebration, beginning Friday morning at the Davis Conference Center in Layton.
The three-day event, running from Friday through Sunday, is being held in Layton for the first time. The move to Layton is based on the conference center's ability to provide space for the three-day activity, said Kim Hessing, co-founder and a member of the board of directors for the event celebrating the fans and community of Japanese animation.
Utah Anime Promotions, the event sponsor, is hoping for 3,000 visitors, since anime has grown in popularity, Hessing said. Last year's celebration in Salt Lake City drew 2,700 visitors, she said.
The anime celebration begins at 10 a.m. Friday; at 9 a.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The cost to attend the three-day event is $35 per person, or $20 for Friday only, $25 for Saturday only, and $15 for Sunday only.
The money made from the event will be rolled back into next year's convention, while the money made from the cafe -- open Saturday only -- will go toward the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.
The Anime Bazai convention was held at Salt Lake Community College for its first two years. It was organized by the Japanese Animation Club on the SLCC campus, Hessing said.
After two years at the college, Hessing said, the expanding group was forced to move to the Sheraton Hotel in Salt Lake City, where it has been for the past three years.
"We just grew too big. We heard about the Davis Conference Center and they fit our needs perfectly," Hessing said of moving the event north.
"It brings some outside people into the community to spend money, which is good. Basically what we are is an arts and education convention," she said.
The event features anime exhibits and mangas (comic books), vendors, contests, special guests, a Friday formal dance dressed as your favorite anime character and a Saturday stomp.
Event spokesman Chris Allen said what he personally enjoys about anime is its "incredibly engrossing stories" that may take up to 300 episodes to tell.
"It is animation," Allen said.
And as a result, he said, he does not foresee any limit as to where it can go in the future.