Every year, Animazement rolls into Raleigh, NC the last week in May. It’s the greatest people watching event Downtown Raleigh has ever seen! Anime fans don elaborate costumes and romp about the city. The event is truly unlike anything else that you’ll find all year, because frankly when else could you possibly see cartoon characters come to life and traipse around downtown?

The event also presents a unique opportunity for area businesses to make extra cash, both from out of town visitors and locals who make their way downtown to be a part of the amazing energy that Animazement brings.

What is Animazement?

Going back to 1997, the festival began as a 36 hour movie marathon that focused on the distinctive cartoons from Japan known as anime, but today it has morphed into so much more. Today Animazement is a four-day celebration of everything that has to do with pop culture. There are costumes, celebrity panels, performances and workshops. Housed in the Raleigh Convention Center downtown, the event is about so much more than Japanese cartoons, though Japanese culture in general remains a central focus.

The scope of the event today makes it one of the largest annual events in the Triangle. This year more than 14,000 people attended the convention, including an incredible number of out of town visitors as well as the locals who come out to enjoy.

Why Events Matter

Big events like Animazement matter because they build community and excitement. This is a homegrown celebration of what people in the Triangle are passionate about, and it’s one that has grown tremendously over the past twenty years as more and more people are drawn into downtown for the event.

One of the reasons that the Triangle is consistently ranked as a top place to live in the country is thanks to festivals and cultural happenings like Animazement. That’s great for local businesses, who not only stand to make a bit of extra cash with the flood of people streaming into downtown, but also to have the opportunity to show off their own creativity and passion.

This kind of event represents a wonderful opportunity for businesses to participate in the goings on of the community. With some effort and a bit of creativity, businesses downtown were able to maximize their days, getting the most out of the crowds.

Creative ways local businesses catered to the crowd

Though this is a great event for participants, it’s also a wonderful one for local businesses, who took full advantage of the big crowds and the excitement surrounding Animazement. Businesses took advantage of the additional crowd by marketing themed drinks, entertainment and ancillary events.

  • **Costume party**

Coglin’s, a local 80s bar, hosted a “Halfway to Halloween Party.” This is brilliant – everyone already had their costumes! What’s smart about the Coglin’s event is that it taps right into their audience, who tends to be pretty pop-culture aware.

  • **Costumed Discounts**

San Lorenzo, a local Italian bistro, offered discounts for people who came in to grab a bite in costume – what a great way to reach out to those thousands of convention goers!

  • **Themed Parties**

Bittersweet, a dessert bar downtown even hosted a party with a Cowboy Bebop theme, an extremely popular anime. They also showed anime cartoons throughout the weekend to draw in the crowd. This kind of tie-in with an event helps everyone to get into the spirit of the fun.

We hope some of these businesses gave you ideas on how you can boost sales during the next big event that comes to your town. The key here is that these businesses took the time to understand the event and the people that attend. Offering discounts for costumes and planning themed parties really hit the mark with this crowd!


Pete Peranzo

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