Atlanta’s geek culture convention is returning to the city after a two-year hiatus.

After canceling the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, MomoCon – a gaming, comics, and anime convention – will return to the Georgia World Congress Center from May 26-29. 

Founder Jessica Merriman said when the pandemic first hit in 2020, they were already in the middle of planning that year’s convention.

Jessica Merriman, the founder of MomoCon.

“It was really disappointing, because 2020 was definitely on track to have a lot of cool features that we weren’t able to do before,” Merriman said.

Merriman, who was raised in Savannah and now lives in Brookhaven, helped found what would become MomoCon in 2004, putting on the first official event in 2005. The event began through Georgia Tech’s anime club, Anime O-Tekku. 

“There wasn’t really a good convention for video games in the area, or at least not anything on a larger scale,” Merriman said. “So we wanted to do a lot with video games, and we were part of the anime club, so that just made sense too.” 

Merriman said MomoCon held a significantly smaller event in December 2021 called Winterfest with about 6,000 people, but this May’s event marks a return to form. Merriman said the organization is expecting about 40,000 anime, comics, and gaming lovers to attend. 

Multiple events will be held throughout the convention’s run. Attendees should look out for two cosplay contests and karaoke contests throughout the weekend. According to a press release, Momocon will offer the largest gaming floor in the southeast, with more than 300,000 square feet of classic arcade games, e-sports, console tournaments, and freeplay. About 90,000 square feet of that space will be dedicated to activities like board games and card games. 

There will also be multiple live performances and music this year. Merriman said this component of the convention has grown each year, in both the number of performers and the variety.

“It’s nice to see a variety,” Merriman said. “In the past we’ve only been able to do one or two kinds of genres … being able to do a variety of different types of musical events is really nice.” 

The convention will also feature a CareerExpo, which will take place on May 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and then 2-5 p.m. at the Omni Hotel’s International Ballroom, according to the press release. Through this free expo, attendees will have access to gaming, animation, comic book, film, and staffing companies. 

Celebrity guests will also be in attendance, including Khary Payton, who starred in “The Walking Dead” and voiced the character Cyborg across various DC Comics cartoons and video games. Phil LaMarr, one of the original cast members of the sketch comedy series “Mad TV,” will also be in attendance.

Of all the celebrity attendees, there are some that Merriman is looking forward to the most. 

“The voice of Mickey Mouse and the voice of Goofy, currently, are coming,” Merriman said. “That’s pretty cool.” 

MomoCon starts at 2 p.m. on May 26 and ends at 5 p.m. on May 29. More information and tickets for the event can be found on the convention’s website. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.