222 Participants in Exposition of Local CharactersHeld in October in Hikone24 August 2013 - Local topics
The festival has been growing in size year by year since 2008. Last fall 244 characters participated and approximately 90,000 viewers visited the festival. However, there has been a flood of characters that were created hastily for commercial purposes or merely to furnish a topic for chats. Thus the event was renamed to highlight the original purpose of boosting regional development. Participation was limited to local government or tourism association characters. Submission of proof of activities and a PR video was also required.
The executive committee had initially expected that the number of participants would decrease to around 100, but they received 222 applications from 184 entities in 41 prefectures. There are as many as 65 new participants, including Funasshi, from Funabashi City, Chiba Prefecture, who won first place in the nationwide vote for local characters this year. Other famous participants include Kumamon from Kumamoto Prefecture and Barysan from Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture, as well as Hikonyan, who will serve as the host of the event.
The renovated exposition of characters will take place on October 19 and 20, at Yume Kyobashi Castle Road near Hikone Castle and other sites. Due to unexpectedly large number of participants, the executive committee has hurriedly secured a nearby parking lot for PR booths and a stage. They will also hold "Kyara Haku En-nichi," a fair for characters that didn't qualify for the exposition.
Keiichi Tomita, an executive committee member and general manager for the event, said, "We would like to present a high-quality event as a 'mecca' for local characters who promote regional development."(translated by Galileo, Inc.)