HOW TO SURVIVE OTAKON
aka your body is calling, it says you need to drink some water
This is my 10th year in a row of attending Otakon. The convention has grown and changed a lot over that time, but a few things have always remained the same:
- It’s always really hot
- It’s still dangerous late at night
- Orioles fans are still obnoxious and drunk
- There is never enough time to eat.
SO this is a kind of PSA for those of you who are new to the convention - recommendations for your safety and health and having a good time, which runs pretty universally to all conventions but with a few recommendations specific to Otakon.
- Stay hydrated!
Welcome to East Coast summers, which are hot and HUMID. Humidity will suck the water out of you faster than dry heat. Baltimore is a coast city and with the water literally a block or two away, it’s even more humid than other con locations. Bring water bottles with you, and Gatorade is a great way to replenish electrolytes lost by sweating. If you are the type of person who likes to mix yourself a bottle of coke and whatever alcohol you can get your hands on, make sure you drink even more water - not just to avoid the hangover, but to avoid passing out from dehydration!
- Related: wear suntan lotion and stay cool.
Otakon is located in a concrete jungle, and while shade can be found it’s not exactly plentiful. The registration line, which traditionally wraps around the 3-block-long convention center on Thursday and Friday, is 90% in the sun. It’s usually bright and sunny all three days, so be sure to protect your skin and wear something breezy and comfortable as much as possible.
- Bring snacks.
So you’re planning to wear 16 costumes over the weekend, spend every last dime in the dealer’s room, and never leave the cold comfort of the air-conditioned convention center. Bring some food, yo! Convenience store food isn’t exactly good for you but it will keep you running. Beef jerky and peanuts for protein, crackers and granola bars for carbs, and dried fruit for sugars will all survive your trip to the con itself and will be easy to carry around.
- DON’T leave the convention center area after 2 AM.
Downtown Baltimore is safe enough, but about three blocks uptown and further the area gets increasingly dangerous. I once made the mistake of walking to my hotel from the Radisson at 4AM and I witnessed an altercation between some cops and a man in which guns were out. PLEASE take care of yourself - if you must walk late at night, be sure to have several friends with you.
- Ignore panhandlers and Orioles fans.
There are always a number of panhandlers around the convention center, and if you decide to give them some change, be careful not to flash the 20s you brought for the dealer’s room. More importantly, JUST IGNORE THE ORIOLES FANS. The Orioles are playing at Camden Yards this year, so fans will be passing by the con throughout the weekend. They WILL ask questions and stare and point and think you’re a weirdo. But more importantly, some of them will be drunk and dangerous. If someone heckles you, just walk away. If they continue to be troublesome, call the police (they will have a small presence at the con regardless).
- If you put down your stuff for a photoshoot/picture, makes sure they’re in your range of vision.
Every year somebody loses a badge, their wallet, etc etc. With the badges being as expensive as they are there’s even more motivation to steal one. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t lose sight of your stuff.
Every year, somebody passes out from the heat, somebody has a bad Orioles fan experience, somebody loses their things. Don’t be that person.
Really good advice!
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