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April 10, 2018
Geek Out in Lancaster City
Written by Fig Digital Content Manager Tony Gorick
Maybe it was when my friend broke a wooden lightsaber over my head in elementary school after I missed a subtle cue as to where the next swing would land. Or maybe it was when I chose my first starter Pokémon on my sweet bright green Game Boy Color before embarking on the quest to be the very best. Or, it very well could have been when I was first exposed to the vibrant, magical world of Hayao Miyazaki.
I became a nerd. And it was glorious.
Some people used to say ‘you’ll grow out of it.’ Now, those same people can stay in my Star Wars themed guest room. Being an adult isn’t giving up these things that we love—it’s making them evolve.
I’ve been counting down the days until May 4-6, 2018 because it’s when Lancaster truly geeks out! With the Zenkaikon convention hitting the Lancaster Marriott and the annual Star Wars Day (“May the 4th Be With You”) on May 4, it’s promising to be an epic weekend.
This 5-section story features:
- Your guide to Zenkaikon, the convention with cosplay, screenings, tabletop gaming, video gaming, and more.
- How to celebrate Star Wars Day! From themed Jedi cocktails to a Ham Solo sandwich, you can’t miss these galactic celebrations.
- Geek out with geeky food and drink specials. Hulk Crepe special at Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie, anyone?
- Shop and collect! Discover some places to shop games, comics, and collectibles.
- Geek out with our printable 8-bit map and checklist. Score!
1) Zenkaikon – What you need to know
Since 2006, Zenkaikon has been an annual tradition in Lancaster City. It’s a celebration of anime, comics, games, science fiction, fandom, cosplay, video games, and much more! This three-day event takes place Friday, May 4 – Sunday, May 6 at the Lancaster Marriott & Convention Center.
“There is so much to do this year,” said K. Nai Seeney, Convention Chair of Zenkaikon. “We have great speakers. I am so excited for Phil LaMarr—I am a big fan of his, and I am so happy to get a star of his caliber for our convention.”
Attendees come from all over to experience Q&A panels with featured guests (including Jad Saxton, Sarah Wiedenheft, Charles Dunbar, and others), special screenings of live action and anime films, video game competitions, music by Triforce Quartet (a traditional string quartet that plays video game music!), DJs, tabletop gaming, and cosplay. There is even a LARP (Live Action Role Play) opportunity where you can play as your favorite anime or manga character.
“Our LARP event is very popular,” added K. Nai. “But we also have a cosplay masquerade where attendees can show off their costumes and even do a skit on stage.”
Video games are also a big draw. Zenkaikon has teamed up with Derpycon who will be bringing a large assortment of consoles and games to the convention. Plus, a Nintendo Rep will be there doing demos of some favorite up-and-coming video games.
Zenkaikon has also chosen to support The AbleGamers Foundation as the official charity partnership of the 2018 event. This nonprofit aims to improve the overall quality of life for those with disabilities through the power of video games. Get tickets (all weekend pass is $60, Saturday/Sunday pass is $50, and Sunday alone is $25), explore vendors, see what else is offered, and learn more on the Zenkaikon website. Don’t miss this epic event in the heart of Lancaster City!
“We are very excited to be putting on this event again,” said K. Nai. “We hope to see you there.”
2) Star Wars Day – Celebrate, you must
May 4. What used to be a typical day during the early Spring season has taken a galactic turn: it’s now Star Wars Day: May the 4th Be With You.
The Capital City Jedi Knights—a nonprofit, choreographed stage combat group from Harrisburg that specializes in Star Wars-styled lightsaber demonstrations and performances—will be a feature group at Zenkaikon.
“We are a nonprofit group that has been around since 2010,” said Mark Jones, Spokesperson for the Capital City Jedi Knights. “We go out into the community to promote Star Wars and perform. We are all really uber nerds,” Mark said laughing. “It’s really great to share this love and passion for Star Wars, and it’s a great way to connect.”
Mark, and the rest of the Capital City Jedi Knights, will bring their creative—and impressive—performing skills to Zenkaikon.
“We can’t tell you exactly what we’ll be doing yet,” said Mark. “But it’s going to be a great blend of anime-style fighting mixed with Star Wars.”
Find out more about the group on their website and don’t miss them at Zenkaikon!
To continue celebrating Star Wars Day, check out these below local shops offering themed specials during the May 4-6 weekend!
- Cabalar Meat Co. has a sandwich that’ll make customers swoon: Ham Solo. I stopped by the butcher shop to try it myself. The special has house smoked ham, caramelized bacon, bib lettuce, zesty chipotle aioli, and is all stacked onto a locally-sourced brioche roll.
- Stoll & Wolfe Whiskey in Lititz, not too far outside Lancaster City, is offering a cocktail good for celebrating a successful Kessel Run: The Jedi Mind Trick Cocktail. And I absolutely love the description: To quote Bill Hader’s Stefon on SNL, ‘This Cocktail has it all.’ Heat from the Ghost Pepper & Carolina Reaper Infused Vodka, Sweet from the Rosemary/Orange Simple Syrup, and Tang from the Lime Juice. And did we mention it changes color based on the acidity? Before it’s added the drink is blue. More lime juice and it turns a darker purple. How? Jedi Mind Trick!
- Lancaster Cupcake – That’s no moon… that’s a sweet Star Wars Death Star cupcake! I’m so ready for this special at the Orange Street location. Get these Star Wars cupcakes fast over the May 4-6 weekend—because they’re going to be gone like Alderaan.
- Lancaster Spice & Tea Exchange is offering a tea promo catered to a Sith Lord. Get a special promo deal on the Dark Side Black Chocolate Tea at Lancaster Spice & Tea Exchange for a morning pick-me-up! Mention or show this blog on May 4-6 to get 20% off Black Chocolate Tea! You’ll turn to the dark side in no time.
- Commonwealth on Queen is featuring a special drink Luke’s Blue Latte, and a delicious sweet treat, Leia’s Cinnamon Buns. The latte is a blueberry vanilla iced tea latte, with black blueberry tea infused with a dehydrated blueberry powder, and whole milk. And the cinnamon bun dish has a made-from-scratch cinnamon roll topped with Carmen and David’s vanilla bean ice cream.
3) City Happenings – Where to geek out
In addition to the Star Wars promos, there is a whole community ready to celebrate everything geeky May 4-6! Check out the below specials at local Lancaster spots during that weekend.
- Rachel’s Cafe & Creperie is featuring a special of epic proportions: Hulk Crepe. This crepe is monstrously delicious, packed with sliced ham, braised pork, bacon, cheddar cheese, scallions, and BBQ sauce—all wrapped in a green-batter crepe specially-made for the weekend. It’s a smashing success (believe me, I tried it and it was everything I hoped it would be…).
- Splits & Giggles is offering two great specials: the Shojo and Shonen Ice Cream Sundaes. Based on two different types of manga, these sundaes represent the colorful kaleidoscope that makes up many of our favorite manga stories. The Shojo Sundae features strawberry ice cream with strawberry topping, rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, a cherry, and strawberry pocky. The Shonen Sundae features birthday cake ice cream, blueberries, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream, a cherry, and chocolate pocky.
- Souvlaki Boys is going all out for these fantasy specials. For Game of Thrones lovers they have Dragon Fries: fresh hand-cut fries topped with feta, jalapeños, and hot sauce. And for those who want to destroy the Ring of Power for good, they better watch out for the Eye of Sauron Greek bowl special: a Greek bowl that has a rice pilaf base, gyro meat and chicken, tomatoes, red onions, tzatziki, a fried egg with hot sauce, and two pita wedges.
- Lancaster Cupcake has even more themed cupcakes—these versions are for the Pokémon trainer. These Pokéball cupcakes are so cool! They are only available from May 4-6, so you have to act quick if you want to catch ’em!
- Lancaster Spice & Tea Exchange has an awesome spice bundle promotion going on: Hobbit Breakfast. These spices are everything you need to make a breakfast spread full of deep flavor and tangy heat—so whether you are eating second breakfast, or elevenses, these are your go-to spice additions. I made a breakfast at home with these additions and it made everything taste incredible (including the po-ta-toes!). Mention or show this blog on May 4-6 to get 20% off of this 4-spice breakfast bundle!
- Silantra is offering a 10% off food code for Zenkaikon attendees—and are also creating a fantastic themed Pokémon card! The 2018 edition of the card is coming out soon. The past two cards featured the Silantra chicken mascot! This is a promo game card you won’t find anywhere else. The Asian street food, with bing pancake wraps as the staple, is made-to-order with a selection of toppings and ingredients.
- Sprout is offering, for the very first time, a special spring roll/fried egg roll combination: the Sprouting Serpent. This will only be available at the downtown Sprout location on May 4 and 5 (Friday/Saturday) of Zenkaikon weekend. So good!
4) Collect. Play. Shop.
There’s a new shop in town! You have to check out Farbo Co.—it just opened on East King Street (and it’s dangerously close to where I live… #byepaycheck). Farbo Co. is your one-stop shop and board game cafe for collectibles, card games, board games, cosplay supplies, miniatures, and more.
“I wanted to create an environment where people can play board games, card games, and hang out together,” said James Farbo, Owner of Farbo Co. “It’s an inclusive, chill place.”
Farbo Co. has a section of gaming tables, and will eventually have a bean bag chair lounge perfect for handheld video gaming. And of course, there will be accessories, games, collectibles, and more, for sale.
The newly-opened shop is ready to welcome visitors. But you should definitely mark down May 4 for the big Grand Opening event as well!
With Zenkaikon, James is ready to help with cosplay costumes—offering glue, craft supplies, and more, to help create (or fix) a costume over the May 4-6 weekend.
“Well be here to help during Zenkaikon,” said James. “Come visit, hang out, and enjoy some coffee and board games. We are excited to bring something like this to downtown Lancaster. Stop by!”
Mark your calendars to visit Lancaster again this summer on June 30 to attend a Star Wars-themed benefit event, B-Wings and Brewskins, hosted at Rumblebrewskin’s by Rebel Cause Lancaster, a group of Star Wars fans dedicated to uniting the fandom and helping local individuals experiencing homelessness in Lancaster County. Enjoy a live podcast, hot wings, Star Wars inspired drinks and food, and of course prizes! Enjoy this all while raising money for Water Street Rescue Mission downtown Lancaster.
Also, right by the Lancaster train station is The Comic Store full of everything a collector could want—with card games, board games, comics, graphic novels, role-playing games, miniatures, collectibles, t-shirts, and much more. It’s free comic book day on May 5 too.
Get your tickets for Zenkaikon now, and don’t forget to check out all the great local businesses celebrating the weekend with the above handy checklist. Of course, May 4 is First Friday in Lancaster City as well—so explore all that Lancaster has to offer.
You ready to geek out May 4-6? I am—I’ll be the dude in the Boba Fett hoodie and Yoda hat walking around with a camera ready to show Professor Oak my perfectly-centered snapshots. Wonderful!