Colossalcon East 2022 Water Park Anime Convention

Anime + water park = fun!
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Colossalcon East is an anime convention held at the Kalahari resort and water park in the Pocono Mountains area of Pennsylvania. It's the second Colossalcon event in a growing list which now totals four. Having attended the 2019 event I was curious how many people would turn up this year. The main Colossalcon event in Ohio still hasn't returned to pre-pandemic attendance numbers, but that may be due to a number of reasons other than COVID.
The Otaku flea market was very popular this year.
The Otaku flea market was very popular this year.
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People line up to grab a space at the flea market. It was so popular that it spilled out into the hallway with people vending on the floor.
People line up to grab a space at the flea market. It was so popular that it spilled out into the hallway with people vending on the floor.
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A view of the vendor hall.
A view of the vendor hall.
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As far as I could tell, attendance numbers for Colossalcon East were at or below 2019 numbers (I didn't attend the 2021 event). Colossalcon staff usually don't share official attendance counts, so this is just an estimation based on how crowded it was. It's possible that there were just as many, but maybe less people were cosplaying. The convention center did seem quite busy throughout the weekend. The water park was much less crowded than I had hoped for and it's the main area where I record my videos. I recorded just 30 people the entire weekend, which is about as few as any convention I attend. For comparison, I recorded over 100 people at Colossalcon in Ohio. This might be bad for my videos, but it's kind of a good thing for attendees.
<a href="https://thelexiconartist.com/" target="_blank">Lex the Lexicon</a> had an entertaining music set full of nerdy comedy and sexual innuendo.
Lex the Lexicon had an entertaining music set full of nerdy comedy and sexual innuendo.
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With low attendance numbers there's no need to wait in long lines. The vendor hall and artist alley aren't jam packed. You can expect to get into any event your heart is set on and maybe even sit in the front row. That guest you've been dying to meet - why not have a conversation with them? I saw a number of guests just hanging out at their tables with no one in line. This included Steve Blum and Beau Billingslea, the voice actors of the lead characters Spike Spiegel and Jet Black in "Cowboy Bebop". This isn't to say that there were no lines at all. The Otaku flea market had a line for a good part of Sunday. The concerts featured some very entertaining musical guests and there was plenty of room to move around or mosh. I caught all of Lex the Lexicon's set and had a good laugh at her lyrics. While I wish this convention was as busier, I also understand how challenging this would be for staff to manage it. It's not easy running a convention and the more people there are, the more difficult it is.

The Kalahari Resort

The grounds of the Kalahari resort are well kept and quite beautiful. A quote from Nelson Mandela is featured on the wall.
The grounds of the Kalahari resort are well kept and quite beautiful. A quote from Nelson Mandela is featured on the wall.
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The Kalahari resort and water park in the Pocono Mountains follows the same successful formula of large resort with a large indoor water park. It's three sister resorts, located in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas, offer more or less the same experience. As the Kalahari name implies, there's an African them throughout the resort. While there are differences in the layout and design or each resort, they are mostly awash in tan and brown paint schemes, African decorations, and papyrus font type. The lobby shops have African names and are styled with adobe construction, straw thatched roofs, and rusty tin metal decor. There are faux rocks with African animal statues and there's even a large metal "Ndoto Kujenga Tree" sculpture made by in-house artists that stands 41 feet tall.
The "Ndoto Kujenga Tree". This 41 foot tall sculpture was crafted in-house.
The "Ndoto Kujenga Tree". This 41 foot tall sculpture was crafted in-house.
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The lobby has an African theme with faux rocks and animals, brown and tan hues, and authentic African music.
The lobby has an African theme with faux rocks and animals, brown and tan hues, and authentic African music.
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A long hallway in one of the hotel wings. The once brown carpet has been replaced with a brighter and more sophisticated one. Notice the papyrus font type on the sign, which is ubiquitous throughout the resort.
A long hallway in one of the hotel wings. The once brown carpet has been replaced with a brighter and more sophisticated one. Notice the papyrus font type on the sign, which is ubiquitous throughout the resort.
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If I had to rate the resort I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. It's better than a Quality Inn, but not as nice as a Marriott. The rooms are clean and comfortable, but they lack the luxury of a higher-end resort. There's no fancy wallpaper, modern furniture, or expensive custom drapes. The bedding and towels are comfortable. The lobby doesn't have mahogany paneling, a massive atrium, or marble floors, but it does have terrazzo floors. The grounds of the resort are quite well kept. The lawns are green and cleanly edged. Flowers and plants are everywhere. Leaves are raked and the walkways are clean.
Kalahari employee Cameron is cosplaying as Princess Yue from Avatar The Last Airbender. The entire restaurant was themed.
Kalahari employee Cameron is cosplaying as Princess Yue from Avatar The Last Airbender. The entire restaurant was themed.
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The target demographic is squarely families with young kids and not business professionals. It's the place where you'll find the average American family spending a fun weekend. The kids are entertained with the pools and arcade and mom and dad can relax in the spa or enjoy a nice meal at one of the many restaurants. There's a burger joint, a breakfast buffet, an Italian restaurant, an expensive steak house, and then the general pizza and ice cream shops. I personally had a number of delicious meals, but I know that attendees always complain about the pricing. The burgers at B-Lux are tasty, the pasta at Sortino's delicious, and the Double Cut steak house.... Well, I haven't spent $70 on a steak there yet, but I'm sure it's also delicious. Considering this is a destination resort without a Taco Bell within walking distance, just know that you're going to pay a bit more than normal. One thing the Kalahari did this year was they themed each restaurant after a video game or animated series. B-Lux had "Mario Bros" decorations allover. Sortino's was "Avatar The Last Airbender" themed, Double Cut was "Pokemon", and Cinco Ninos was "One Piece". The menu items were also themed and staff were allowed to cosplay as well, which was a lot of fun. People will sometimes say that hotels hate anime conventions, but that couldn't be further from the truth. The Kalahari welcomed Colossalcon attendees in so many ways. There's a nice BBQ area around the back that doubles as a fun photo shoot area. The resort put together an anime themed reception there on Thursday evening just for Colossalcon. How nice!
Cinco Ninos was "One Piece" themed.
Cinco Ninos was "One Piece" themed.
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B-Lux was Super Mario themed, including a cool 8-bit menu.
B-Lux was Super Mario themed, including a cool 8-bit menu.
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The B-Lux 8-bit menu.
The B-Lux 8-bit menu.
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Getting There

The water park as seen from Interstate 380.
The water park as seen from Interstate 380.
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The ease of attending Colossalcon East greatly depends on where you live. Many attendees simply drive there. New York and Philadelphia are two hours away by car and most of the people I know who attended came from Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. If you have to fly in as I do, your journey becomes a lot more expensive and difficult. The demand for airline travel is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels and the airlines simply aren't prepared to handle it. Add in inflation and you have a recipe for expensive airline tickets. Flights from where I live in Washington State were around $800 and I even saw flights from Boston around that price! That's crazy given how close it is. Unless you live near a major airline hub like Atlanta, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, or Chicago, you'll likely pay a lot more than normal to get there.
One of two large, monolithic hotel wings.
One of two large, monolithic hotel wings.
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A shot of the wave pool. Did you know it has a name?
A shot of the wave pool. Did you know it has a name?
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An overview of the sprawling indoor water park.
An overview of the sprawling indoor water park.
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Flying is just the beginning. Remember that the resort is relatively remote. Unless you can catch a ride with someone, you'll have to rent a car. This puts the cost to attend close to $1,000. For a convention of this size and stature, that's probably asking too much. There are other conventions of equal or greater size that are closer and much more affordable. The draw of the water park is likely negligible since water parks aren't hard to come by and it wasn't very well-attended that I could see. I'm not trying to reduce the attractiveness of this convention, but these are things that attendees consider. I recommend going to a Colossalcon convention because they're a ton of fun, but definitely look at all four and consider which one makes the most sense for you to attend. It seemed to me that most people attended with a group of friends and treated it like a fun weekend getaway, with cosplay. The unique location and water park are perks, but they aren't the main draw. Creating memories and having fun are. Going solo to a convention like this can be a pretty lonely experience. That's not to say you can't meet new friends. I've definitely travelled alone to a number of conventions and have met a lot of people along the way. It just helps a lot when you have someone to hang out with. It also helps to split the cost of a room, which isn't very cheap.
This kids area of the outdoor water park was only open for part of Friday, specifically for photography and video. Thank you to the Kalahari resort for providing this opportunity.
This kids area of the outdoor water park was only open for part of Friday, specifically for photography and video. Thank you to the Kalahari resort for providing this opportunity.
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Another view of one of the hotel wings.
Another view of one of the hotel wings.
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The convention center is awash in earthy tones and Africa-inspired styling.
The convention center is awash in earthy tones and Africa-inspired styling.
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The Cosplayers

Given the relatively small size of the convention, I'm not surprised that I only filmed around 30 cosplayers. Not everyone takes cosplay serious, or cosplays at all. This probably isn't the event where you want to bring your best cosplay to show off - save that for a convention like Katsucon. At a Colossalcon convention you can bring your fun, sexy, comfortable, funny, or just plain silly cosplay. Heck, this is the convention where people are dress up in ridiculous cow themed outfits, so feel free to do whatever. Just make sure to have fun and stay safe. Big thanks to everyone who filmed with me. I was happy to see familiar faces, but also meet some new folks. Be sure the check them out on Instagram. Their accounts are linked below.
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/cosplay.kenna">@cosplay.kenna</a> Rem from Re:Zero
@cosplay.kenna Rem from Re:Zero
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/theswitched_up">@theswitched_up</a> Bulma from Dragon Ball
@theswitched_up Bulma from Dragon Ball
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/lordsprout">@lordsprout</a> Nami One Piece Film: Red
@lordsprout Nami One Piece Film: Red
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/diji_mon">@diji_mon</a> Marin from My Dress-up Darling
@diji_mon Marin from My Dress-up Darling
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/_viviairlines">@_viviairlines</a> Yanfei from Genshin Impact
@_viviairlines Yanfei from Genshin Impact
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/vivi.sashimi">@vivi.sashimi</a> Mitsuri Kanroji from Demon Slayer
@vivi.sashimi Mitsuri Kanroji from Demon Slayer
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/roses_bonescosplay">@roses_bonescosplay</a> Mai Tai from <a href="https://www.instagram.com/dollightfully/">@dollightfully</a> artist
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/icy.itegumo">@icy.itegumo</a> Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy
@icy.itegumo Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/digi_rin">@digi_rin</a> Katara from Avatar the Last Airbender
@digi_rin Katara from Avatar the Last Airbender
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Fate
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/kstarcool">@kstarcool</a> Ishtar
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/mikarizaki">@mikarizaki</a> Ereshkigal
Fate @kstarcool Ishtar @mikarizaki Ereshkigal
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vtubers
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/2d_dey">@2d_dey</a> Ninomae Ina'nis
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/kirliara">@kirliara</a> Gawr Gura
vtubers @2d_dey Ninomae Ina'nis @kirliara Gawr Gura
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/pokidokidoki">@pokidokidoki</a> Sailor Moon
@pokidokidoki Sailor Moon
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Genshin Impact
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/costay.moo">@costay.moo</a> Hu Tao
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/im.renna">@im.renna</a> Mona
Genshin Impact @costay.moo Hu Tao @im.renna Mona
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/fabulizcosplay">@fabulizcosplay</a> Lady Satsuki from Kill la Kill
@fabulizcosplay Lady Satsuki from Kill la Kill
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/me.bigboy">@me.bigboy</a> Mako Two-star Goku Uniform from Kill la Kill
@me.bigboy Mako Two-star Goku Uniform from Kill la Kill
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/tayosauruscos">@tayosauruscos</a> He-man
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/im.renna">@im.renna</a> ME!ME!ME!
@im.renna ME!ME!ME!
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/kathfils">@kathfils</a> Nico Robin from One Piece
@kathfils Nico Robin from One Piece
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/onicure.cosplay">@onicure.cosplay</a> Suika Ibuki from Touhou Project
@onicure.cosplay Suika Ibuki from Touhou Project
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Mass Effect Andromeda
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/peggasaurusrexx">@peggasaurusrexx</a> Pathfinder Rider
<a href="https://www.instagram.com/zadrabug">@zadrabug</a> Commander Shepard
Mass Effect Andromeda @peggasaurusrexx Pathfinder Rider @zadrabug Commander Shepard
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/rbf.cos">@rbf.cos</a>Jolyne Cujoh from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
@rbf.cosJolyne Cujoh from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/impiela6">@impiela6</a> Shego from Kim Possible
@impiela6 Shego from Kim Possible
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/costay.moo">@costay.moo</a> Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill
@costay.moo Ryuko Matoi from Kill la Kill
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/sirahcos">@sirahcos</a> Luo Binghe from Scum Villian Self-saving System
@sirahcos Luo Binghe from Scum Villian Self-saving System
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/natly_cosplay">@natly_cosplay</a> Korok from Breath of the Wild
@natly_cosplay Korok from Breath of the Wild
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/violaliion">@violaliion</a> Aladdin from Magi
@violaliion Aladdin from Magi
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/sirahcos">@sirahcos</a> 2B wedding version from Nier: Automata
@sirahcos 2B wedding version from Nier: Automata
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/sirahcos">@sirahcos</a> Aerith from Final Fantasy VII
@sirahcos Aerith from Final Fantasy VII
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/ellevishh">@ellevishh</a> Yor Forger from Spy x Family
@ellevishh Yor Forger from Spy x Family
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<a href="https://www.instagram.com/sirahcos">@sirahcos</a> Luo Binghe from Scum Villian Self-saving System
@sirahcos Luo Binghe from Scum Villian Self-saving System
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