What Is Yama-Con?
Yama-Con (Yama is Japanese for Mountain) is an anime and comic convention located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We are a not-for-profit organization founded to celebrate everything nerdy, geeky or otaku. We operate fully on a volunteer basis to bring you events that are focused around anime, manga, comics and video games.
Our Mission Statement
Yama-con is a fan-owned and fan-operated convention by Smoky Mtn. Fandom LLC. Our primary goal is to create a fun, safe environment for staff, guests, and attendees alike and to, once a year, host an awesome convention for all. Yama-Con is a family, and we strive to maintain that bond, treating everyone as brothers and sisters… not as business assets. We do our best to bring you, the attendee, the most bang for your buck by booking lots of quality guests and planning fun and interactive activities and events all in a nice spacious venue so you can enjoy your time with your old friends and make new ones.
Established in 2012, Yama-Con is the brainchild of con-chairs Nick and Elle Carr. They had a vision and with the help of many great friends Yama-Con was born.
They were lucky enough to get Johnny Yong Bosch and his band Eyeshine as guests despite being a first year convention. The guests roster was rounded out with Robert Axelrod and Paul St. Peter. After a full year of planning, in December of 2012 Yama-Con: Phase 1.0 was initiated. As the theme would suggest their expectations were transformed with approximately 1,150 paid attendees when only around 500 were originally expected.
With a new found zeal, the team began immediately started planning for year two. The theme was decided, Yama-Con 2013 would be called Round 2 in celebration of fighting genre and martial arts themed stories. Some of the cast of DragonBall Z were invited including Sean Schemmel, Sonny Strait, Mike McFarland (who cancelled due to inclement weather), and Chuck Huber. Johnny Yong Bosch, Paul St. Peter and Eyeshine returned for a second time. Despite rain and snow storms Round 2 was still a knock-out with over 1650 paid attendees. In fact they had so many attendees it became clear Smoky Mountain Convention Center could hold them no longer.
The team promptly began searching for a new venue that would be great enough for Yama-Con. Ultimately, the team decided to stay in their home city of Pigeon Forge and move to the brand new LeConte Center. They decided to make the move for Yama-Con 2013: Third Times the Charm. This little mountain con continued to grow and cast a spell with over 2300 in attendance. The magical guest list included Erica Mendez, Lucien Dodge, Johny Yong Bosch, Little Kuriboh, Patricia Albrecht. Don’t forget about the Sailor Moon cast reunion with Linda Ballantyne, Toby Proctor, Susan Roman and Katie Griffin!
For year four in 2015, the theme was A Pirates Life 4 Me. We set sail with over 2700 attendees. The swashbuckling guest list included Chris Sabat, Eric Vale, Ian Sinclair, Paul St. Peter, Chuck Huber and Johnny Yong Bosch.
2016 marks Yama-Con’s 5th year. Yama-Con V: Villians will highlight your favorite villians, evil doers and antiheroes. Come and be bad with us December 2nd – 4th 2016!