Fans from all over the U.S. and the world got a chance to indulge in Hello Kitty mania this past Halloween weekend, at the first ever Hello Kitty Convention in Los Angeles, CA.
The convention took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art or MOCA in the Little Tokyo district of downtown LA.
Being a geek of the iconic “cat” myself I found this convention to be the end all be all for Hello Kitty shopping, food, and art.
Fans started lining up as early as 7am outside the museum to be first in line for the convention. The show was completely sold out and event planners expected some 25,000 to show up for the entire run.
I arrived just shortly after 9am, and found parking at one of the 8 specified parking locations on their website to be accessible and close to the venue.
After making it inside around 10:15am after doors opened at 10am, my first stop was the HK pop-up shop, which had exclusive merchandise only sold at the convention. Items were well stocked, and the decision between which 40th anniversary collectible pin/handbag to take home was my biggest dilemma!
The HK Art Gallery had some amazing fan-based art for sale.
The tattoo salon offered at the show had to be one the coolest and creative souvenirs a fan could get. The line was capped off by the time I made it inside and had top tattoo artists like Alex Strangler and LA Ink’s Dan Smith.
A personal favorite part of the show was the Hello Kitty and Bullseye Carnival sponsored by Target. At this attraction you were given a digital card for playing electronic games like the HK version of Simon, Spin the Wheel, and a fortune telling machine that dished out hard stock plastic cards revealing your fortune. This was a great feature to the show that also had interactive photo booths that made your own animated GIF with the Kitty herself.
The food selection was somewhat limited, located directly outside MOCA. Food trucks offered everything from grilled cheese to tacos, and a Hello Kitty “sweet treats wagon” had cake pops, donuts, and macaroons all in the shape of HK – with unspeakably long lines! I estimated about 90 minutes for my sandwich and lines were not diminished due to only having 3-4 trucks available.
The ability to eat in the nearby Little Tokyo neighborhood was a huge plus, but having greater access to beverages and food on the premise would be something to be considered for the coming years.
Sanrio really offered every opportunity for people to buy old and new HK products in Vintage Village and HK Supermarket.
Vintage village had old products from Sanrio, dating back to the 80’s. Taking a walk down memory lane and seeing all the HK goods gave visitors a chance to look back on their younger years.
The Upper Deck booth took up a huge portion of the marketplace floor with their custom keepsake trading card. Guests could have their picture taken on a bus with HK and friends and buy other 40th anniversary card sets. The average line wait for this booth was about an hour and 15 minutes.
All in all, the show was a great way to start off the Hello Kitty anniversary events. I hope there’s more to come in the next few years, hopefully including a bigger venue to fit the ever-growing fandom.