It’s official. Hello Kitty is coming to a city near you. For the first time ever, starting in May, 2015, Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival will bring Hello Kitty-themed live stage shows, interactive exhibits, and exclusive merchandise to cities across North America.
Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival is being produced by Sanrio in partnership with Vee Corporation, who is known for working with popular, family-friendly characters from big properties like Sesame Street and Mr. Potato Head. Live musical performances and a game show are listed among the entertainment planned per the official website’s show list. Exhibits include Hello Kitty fashions and historical pieces, along with large displays suitable for photo opportunities. Fans are encouraged to dress up in cute fashions or costumes (while respecting each venue’s costume rules, of course) and take pictures with Hello Kitty and her friends, but much like at Disney theme parks, photo opportunities are not guaranteed to all attendees.
Admission into the Hello Kitty Festival is not free, but it does include access into all exhibits and shows. Regular admission ticket prices vary per venue but are around $15–$30 USD, with some venues offering discounted pricing for children and groups. Keep in mind, venues and ticketing agencies may charge additional convenience and service fees on top of the standard ticket price. To encourage young girls to attend, Girl Scouts who attend can earn a friendship badge.
In addition to regular admission, Sanrio is offering two distinctive VIP packages. According to the official festival website, the “Red Bow Package” includes a guaranteed meet and greet photo opportunity with Hello Kitty, early access to the festival shop, an exclusive Supercute Friendship Festival tote bag, and a Red Bow lanyard and badge. The “Platinum Bow Package” includes everything offered to Red Bow VIPs, plus a meet and greet with four additional Sanrio characters, an exclusive event poster, and reserved seating at all live shows. All VIPs get to begin their festival experience in style with a red carpet entrance and VIP check-in booth. Pricing for the VIP experience also varies by venue, but the packages are approximately $100 USD for the Red Bow and $200 USD for the Platinum Bow.
Attendees may also purchase merchandise like hoodies and tote bags that are exclusive to the event and will not be sold elsewhere. Thus far, included in the exclusive merchandise is a series of plush characters that include Hello Kitty and her friends Keroppi, Baditz-Maru, Chococat, and My Melody. Photos of these plushies have appeared on the official festival Instagram feed.
Although this is the first tour experience for Hello Kitty, it is not the first time Hello Kitty fans have had a chance to gather in celebration of the pop-culture icon. Hello Kitty’s 40th anniversary took place in 2014 with a sold out, first-ever official Hello Kitty Convention in Los Angeles. According to Forbes, the convention’s 25,000 tickets sold out weeks prior to the event. Those eager to attend the festival in the city of their choice may not want to wait to purchase tickets.