Going strong after 20 years of assembling creative types of every stripe, Design Festa is back for Volume 40.

Organizers topped the 50,000-visitor mark for their 39th show in May, and drew more than 11,000 participants, including visual artists, musicians, dancers, and clothing designers. If you haven’t been before, here’s what you should know: the bi-annual “Freestyle International Art Event” is open to all artists from all over the world, both professional and non-professional, to exhibit their creative talent and it’s held at Tokyo Big Sight, the biggest event hall in Japan.

The only criteria for applicants is that they be original, as the organizers believe in the freedom of expression, and this is what makes the show so much fun each time. With equal treatment for professionals and amateurs, companies and individuals alike, Design Festa is like an organized art collective, and there’s a surprise around every corner. Those who happen to be in the mood for getting dressed up or just seeing some cool costumes are in luck: the people roaming the exhibition areas are often as interesting to look at as the artists and performers themselves.

And if you can’t get enough of the vibe at the twice-yearly extravaganza, the Design Festa Gallery in Harajuku is open daily, highlighting art pieces that change every single day in 21 showrooms and 50 individual display sections, and there’s even a cafe/bar. If you need more than just a bite, you can hop over to the well-liked okonomiyaki house Sakura-Tei a few steps away, where you can also admire some the art on the walls.

Design Festa vol. 40

More information: http://designfesta.com/en/

When: November 8–9

Where: Tokyo Big Sight

How much:

Door: ¥1,000 (one day) / ¥1,800 (two days)

Adv.: ¥800 (one day) / ¥1,500 (two days)