Thriving anime event Sunnycon is up for an award - as it outgrows Sunderland

The successful SunnyCon festival which is moving out of Sunderland.

The successful SunnyCon festival which is moving out of Sunderland.

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A festival which brought thousands of people to Wearside is on the move - so it can pull in even more visitors.

The flourishing SunnyCon event has attracted 2,000 anime fans and cosplayers – people who wear costumes to represent Anime or Manga characters – each year since it was first held in Sunderland.

I am quite surprised and happy to be nominated. SunnyCon has grown a lot to the point where we needed to move to a larger venue. We are sad to be leaving Sunderland but also excited to be expanding

Donna Yeoman

But for the first time, it is moving to Newcastle to increase visitor numbers to 5,000 people and perhaps even more.

As SunnyCon prepares to move, its Sunderland beginnings have not been forgotten in the city.

It has been nominated for the Echo’s What’s On Where Awards by readers who described it as “amazing” and “colourful.”

Chairwoman of the event Donna Yeoman said: “I am quite surprised and happy to be nominated. SunnyCon has grown a lot to the point where we needed to move to a larger venue.

“We are sad to be leaving Sunderland but also excited to be expanding.”

The anime event is one of the early nominations for this year’s What’s On Where Awards which aim to find the best in Wearside and South Tyneside’s arts, culture, hospitality and leisure scene.

One nomination said: “Nominating SunnyCon as once again this amazing event has brought thousands of people to Seaburn for a summer weekend. H

undreds upon hundreds of geeks, anime fans and cosplayers swarmed the seafront in June at what is now the UK’s largest anime convention, and the growth over the years is testament to that success, from its beginnings at Crowtree all the way to next year when it will be held at St James’s Park.”

Twelve volunteers run the event, which will be held from June 17 to 19 this year at St James’s Park in Newcastle.

This year’s SunnyCon is expected to expand on Japanese culture and attract visitors from as far as Australia and the US.

But its Sunderland roots have put it in the running for a What’s On Where award in the competition backed by UK Asbestos Specialists (UKasl).

The Best Western Roker Hotel will host the finale of our competition – held in association with our weekly entertainments guide, Wow 24/7.

Nominations can be sent in until the deadline of February 1.

To nominate, fill in the form on this page or visit www.jpne-events.co.uk