This last Labor Day weekend, over 57,000 science fiction and fantasy fans converged on Atlanta from around the world for Dragon Con.
“Dragon Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe,” is how the convention’s website describes the event.
Hundreds of celebrity guests come to meet fans, sign autographs, and sit in panels where they answer questions and talk about their work.
“This year some of the guests cover from classic television stars Lindsay Wagner and Lee Majors who are the ‘Bionic Woman’ and ‘Six Million Dollar Man’, to Ed Asner who is a voice actor and a television and movie star” says Dan Carroll, who heads Dragon Con’s media relations.
Best-selling author Kevin J. Anderson attends the con every year. He gives writing lectures, talks about Star Wars and does readings of his work. “This is my 18th Dragon Con, so it’s like a big family reunion.” Kevin gave a reading from an upcoming book in his epic “Saga of Seven Suns” universe.
Fans line up for hours to to see their favorite celebrates. Thomas “Uncle Flip” attended his first Dragon Con this year and was in line to see George Takei of “Star Trek” fame. “It should be very interesting, he’s one of my favorite personalities.” Thomas bore the Atlanta heat in full Indiana Jones costume.
The Dragon Con Parade has become a tradition. Costumed fans mix with celebrities as they march around the convention hotels, drawing thousands of onlookers.
“We come every year.” Weston, an Atlanta native arrived before sunrise to camp out a good spot to view the parade with his family. “The boys love seeing all the super hero costumes, trying to pick out their favorite cartoon characters. It’s just a good time.”
Costuming is a big part of Dragon Con. Thousands of costumed fans or cosplayers attend the convention to show off their creativity. Just walking through one of the hotel lobbies, one is likely to see Jedi mixing with superheroes, animation characters mingling with video game characters, or costumes put together from the wearer’s imagination.
“I don’t even go to any panels, I just love walking around, getting my picture taken with all the wonderful costumes.” Amber is from Miami and spent ten months crafting an elaborate steampunk costume, which is a mix of science fiction and Victorian era fashion. “The dedication and creativity found in the costumes at Dragon Con is just amazing.”
Dragon Con’s diversity caters to almost anyone. Dozens of fan organized “tracks” run simultaneously, providing panels on a vast array of subjects, from the Kaleidoscope Track, focusing on children’s television programming to the Science Track with theoretical physicists and virologists.
Memberships for next year’s convention are already being sold on the convention’s website. There is also information on volunteering at Dragon Con. www.dragoncon.org