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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.
“We will also have a Manga library,” said K. Nai. “So attendees can read, and try, different series before investing in them. And we’ll have two Artemis bridge simulators—and those are really fun.”
“We love Lancaster, it’s so walkable,” said K. Nai. “It’s such a great city. Lancaster has really blown up recently—but you still get that small-town charm. It’s perfect for our family-friendly event.”
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. Me: *looks at sandwich* “I love you.” Ham Solo Sandwich: “I know.” (That’s what definitely happened, I swear). The special has house smoked ham, caramelized bacon, bib lettuce, zesty chipotle aioli, and is all stacked onto a locally-sourced brioche roll. I can’t express how fantastic this sandwich was—and watching the team meticulously craft it left me mesmerized.
- Stoll & Wolfe Whiskey in Lititz, not too far outside Lancaster City, is offering a cocktail good for celebrating a successful Kessel Run in 12 parsecs or less—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! I had a VIP taste-testing opportunity and it was incredible!
- 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. These amazing themed desserts, featuring some of the most popular characters from Star Wars, are a fantastic treat for this weekend. Get these 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! The flavor is rich—and something I’ve never experienced before. 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. Plus, check out the incredible comic “She Walks with the Giant” by John Salvino featured at the shop and at Prince Street Cafe.
- 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. If you’re like me, I am going all-in on these worlds colliding and ordering both!
- Lancaster Cupcake has even more themed cupcakes—these versions are for the Pokémon trainer. These Pokéball cupcakes are so cool! The first time I saw them I knew I needed to get a dozen for my friends for when we watch the next Pokémon movie together. 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. They started this tradition two years ago, and it’s going strong. 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. I was able to taste a sneak-peek sample—and I assure you, this is a new flavor experience you don’t want to miss.
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 for board games, collectibles, card games, miniatures, and more. Plus, it’s a cool board game cafe serving local Square One Coffee where people can go and connect.
“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.
“We have a little bit of everything,” added James. “Every day is like a mini event here—there is always stuff to do.”
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.”
The newly-opened shop is ready to welcome visitors before that weekend too. But you definitely should mark down May 4 for the big Grand Opening as well!
“We are excited to bring something like this to downtown Lancaster,” added James. “Stop by!”
Follow Farbo Co. on Facebook and Instagram to learn more. Also, don’t miss their big event with Rebel Cause, a local community-building organization, on Sunday, April 22 from 3-6pm for trivia, giveaways, and Star Wars gaming.
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. Shops like Madcap and Co. and Building Character also have their fair share of novelty items, vintage collectibles, handcrafted art & jewelry, and retro finds.
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!
Written by Fig Digital Content Manager Tony Gorick