Gearing up for DragonCon
Four years ago, after a while of entertaining the idea, my buddies Eric and Alex and myself decided to head to DragonCon. DragonCon bills itself as “the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!” and I’d say that it comes pretty close to that with the official 2009 attendance of approximately 35,000 people. The first year that we attended, it was housed in the Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton hotels in downtown Atlanta, as of last year it had expanded to include two additional hotels to host events.
DragonCon take place every Labor Day weekend in Atlanta and it’s essentially the largest gathering of geeks on the east coast. Many call it a Geek Mardis Gras. If you’re unsure what a Con is, I defined it in a previous GeekWord post as;
Con [kon] noun, abbreviation
Con, abbreviation of the word Convention. An event where many people gather together to celebrate a common interest, commonly Star Trek, Science Fiction or Anime.
Most Cons tend to concentrate on one, maybe two fandoms. DragonCon doesn’t believe in this kind of specialization, it embraces all fandoms and organizes them into more than 35 Fan Tracks covering subjects like Anime, Star Trek, Star Wars, Independent Films, Tolkien and even Robotics. There’s a Gaming Track that hosts organized gaming events like the venerable Dungeons & Dragons or board games like Axis & Allies.
You can also rub elbows with geek celebrities at DragonCon. During the day they can be found in the Walk of Fame where the celebs sell autographed photos and the like, but your just as likely to find yourself sharing an elevator with one since most of them stay in the same hotels as the attendees. Many of the guests wander around at night, taking in the sites when the Cosplayers come out in force.
Cosplay is a staple at most Cons and you won’t find a better display than DragonCon . The diversity of costumes matches the diversity in fandoms. You’ll see the usual gaggle of Stormtroopers from the 501st, Star Trek costumes from every series and some of the best Super Hero costumes outside of the movies. I have a lot of respect for folks who put a creative twist on a character or genre.
Unlike other Cons, DragonCon takes place in the same hotels where most of the attendees are staying. Because of that, the con pretty much never stops. You can wander through the hotels at 4 AM and still find plenty of people having fun.
Check out this documentary produced by PBS called Four Days at Dragon*Con.