AnimeFest was found in 1992 by Robert Jenks, Dan Minut, and Leon Thompson to promote Japanese Animation. We held our first event in October of that year. AnimeFest was originally a sole proprietorship of Robert Jenks, but reformed into a Non-Profit corporation in 2001. In addition to the large annual event, we also hold smaller events throughout the year at our office and attend many other similar events across the country.
AnimeFest, as the name suggests, is largely based around "anime" or Japanese animation. It has always been one of our primary motivations to educate the public about anime and the cultural aspects surrounding it. When we formed back in 1992 the term "anime" was largely unknown. Many of the "cartoons" on TV were adaptations of Japanese TV shows and a few of us began to realize this and seek out more. A small, but rapidly growing fandom was emerging out of the science fiction/fantasy fandom.
Anime fandom in the US was really started back in the 70's, but it didn't gain any significant traction until the late 1980's. Teenagers (like us at the time) were drawn to anime shows without realizing their origins because of the unusual style and themes presented. These imported shows were unlike anything we had seen before. Anime was different from cartoons as it presented topics in a more mature way. Shows like Star Blazers and Robotech introduced teenagers to the wonders of a serialized story line, love, hate and death. Topics that US TV producers seemed to feel that we should be completely shielded from. Somehow these imports made it onto the air and once we had a taste, we needed more. Thus anime fandom blossomed.