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President's Message

Dearest Otafest community,

It is with a very happy heart that I welcome you to Otafest 2019 – our 21st edition and a true representation of the passion and sense of belonging that our team strives for in everything we do.

I have been involved with this community since 2002 and have watched our festival and community grow into a safe haven, a community space with something for everyone, a destination convention and a place where anyone can find belonging.

I found belonging here many years ago and hope to share that same family-feeling with all of you.

I developed strong friendships and found mentors within this community – mentors who gave me a sense of purpose, of value and of true family. To some, this event is a 3 day anime party – and to others, it is a home full of love and friendship.

Whatever it is that brings you here today, welcome.

I want to use this platform to celebrate those who make Otafest what it is – our volunteer directors, staff and day-of support teams.

Without their commitment and selflessness, we wouldn't have anything to show you here, today!

Otafest is 100% run and organized by volunteers – with no paid staff, you can be confident that every penny from your admission goes right back into building this festival.

From signs to sharpies, duct tape, hard materials and facility rentals – by spending your hard earned money on a pass, you enable this community to return year after year with even bigger and better activities to enjoy.

Thank you for your trust and support.

Please don't be a stranger – if you see me walking the halls or taking a quick break to enjoy the show, don't hesitate to reach out and say hello. We are all friends at Otafest!

My warmest and sincere thanks for allowing us to throw this event 21 years running. Enjoy the show! We do it for you.

Stephanie Mok
President & Vice Chair, People and Experiences
Otafest 2019




Chairwoman's Message

*WARNING: OVERWHELMING SAPPINESS INCOMING.*

I love you, Otafest. This annual gathering of my tribe has, somehow, through the years, become simultaneously my family, my home, my identity, my self-worth, my greatest joy.

There's a lot to unpack in that previous sentence, and I'm preeeetty sure any therapist worth their salt will attest that this level of attachment to something is prooobably not healthy. =P

But I can't help it!

Otafest has been with me through all of the major milestones of my adult life, and shaped me into who I am today. I met my wife through anime and proposed to her through fanfiction.

We went on our first vacation together to Japan and someone shouted, "Otafest!" at us at the base of Fushimi Inari. We got married over Victoria Day long weekend at the U of C (that first year we tried out the Canada Day dates for Otafest instead).

Our wedding photos look suspiciously like the annual staff photo, right down to the shot where we're all strangling former chairman Justin Lo for getting us into this mess in the first place ^_^.

My daughter completed her first line-control volunteer shift last year while still in the womb. Through the festival, I have learned perseverance, hard work, and creative thinking.

The chaos of the event can't help but mold one into a stronger professional, and hone skills that can be put to so much good use in all other aspects of life.

Through the Otafam, I have learned belonging, devotion and humility. I stand in your presence, humbled and awed at the generosity with which you have gifted me those most precious resources of all: your time and enthusiastic energy.

You are my team that is also my family, a collective heart I know I can always call home.

And through all of you, reading this now, the Otafest community, I have learned sheer delight, unabashed joy, and electric excitement.

Your wide-eyed grins, your thrilled words, your kind forgiveness when we inevitably mess something up and gentle encouragement to do better.

You make all the hard work worth it.

Please allow me to say it again: I love you, Otafest. It has been my great privilege and an absolute honor to serve as your Chair.

Cheers,
Jenny Chan
Otafest 2017 – 2019, Chairwoman