PITTSFIELD -- What do My Little Pony, Sailor Moon and Mother's Day have in common?
They'll all be celebrated with special events this weekend at BAMCon 2013, Berkshire County's own large-scale convention for the realms of anime, manga, comics and gaming.
Launched last year, BAMCon's sophomore return takes place this Friday through Sunday at the Crowne Plaza in Pittsfield.
"Before the first convention, it was all about us and our vision for BAMCon -- then, we had about 500 people show up," said Jon Wynn, co-organizer and head of MediaCrash, a small media engineering studio. "This event is all in the hands of the community now and what they want."
He's been working with fellow Berkshire residents and co-organizers Crystal How croft, Amelia Ritner and Brendon Frazier to produce a bigger, more organized and more family-friendly event this year. They're also promising a greater range of all that's weird, wonderful and animated.
"It's a subculture that's growing," said Frazier.
"It's cool to be nerdy," said Ritner.
One new event expected to be popular this year is a panel for fans of My Little Pony, the cute-character franchise that's been around since 1983, producing plastic pony toys, animated feature films, a series of television shows and even spinoff Internet memes.
Howcroft, who is responsible for curating animation for the event, is bringing in Home stuck, an interactive Web comic produced on MS Paint Adventures. There will also be a few panels based on the manga/anime "Hetalia: Axis Powers."
Film-based events include an extended AMV -- anime music video -- contest and screenings, as well as a video production workshop. There will also be cast and crew auditions for the live actor filming of the short opening sequence as seen in the Sailor Moon S movie.
Anime anthropologist Charles Dunbar and voice actress Bella Hudson ("Yu-Gi-Oh!," "One Piece," "Sonic the Hedgehog") will also be in the guest lineup.
Since most of the organizers are also parents, this year's BAMCon will also feature more activities for kids during the day. There will be kids' craft hours and anime on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., for youths ages 4 to 14 and their parents.
On Sunday, there will be a Mother's Day Tea Service from 10 to 11:30 a.m., complete with tea, cakes and cookies, at a special discount pass of $5.
Live events and performances include cosplay costume contests based on favorite anime/manga characters, a Zyiamu Belly Dance performance, the trio of +2 Comedy, music by melodic core/Jap anese anime rock band The Asterplace, Matthew Myers of the band LeetStreet Boys, a gaming room with ongoing tournaments and board games run by Western Mass Fight Club, and several live audience participation game shows by produced and hosted by Greg "Greggo" Wicker, who will be debuting a new show at BAMCon.
Expecting a large turnout, the organizers said they have a full security plan and protocol in place, including restrictions on costumes that include weapons as props.
"We want people to feel safe to meet others to find something new or enjoy the nostalgia," Wynn said.
To reach Jenn Smith:
or (413) 496-6239.
On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink
If you go ...
What: BAMCon 2013, Berkshire Anime Convention, featuring live events, panels, contests, art displays, vendors, gaming tournaments and more based on the culture of anime, manga, comics and fantasy games.
When: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Crowne Plaza Hotel, One West Street, Pittsfield.
Tickets: Passes range from $15 to $35, with online discounts. Tickets will also be sold at the door each day, cash or major credit card accepted.
Info: For full schedule information, updates, prices and more, visit www.bam-con.com, find BAMCon on Facebook, or follow on Twitter @Official_BamCon.