Costume SuperCenter employee Richard Iurilli attended Dragon Con last week and we are happy to have him offer his first hand account of everything Dragon Con had to offer.
As word about Dragon Con spreads, the convention gets bigger and bigger every year. It now takes over five hotels in the heart of Atlanta and has events at various downtown locations. The crowds are unbelievable, whether you’re waiting in line (there’s a lot of this) to see celebrity guests (there are hundreds of “featured” guests and countless more actors, artists, and musicians in attendance) or walking from hotel to hotel (there’s an eternal debate about whether it’s faster to use the sky bridges between the hotels to get around or to walk outside and make your way along the streets of Atlanta). It’s all part of the experience though, because when half the attendees are dressed up in costumes, there’s always plenty to see. And the fun never stops, because with official and unofficial panels at all hours, concerts starting at 1:00 AM or later, and dance parties that go all night long, it’s truly a 24 hour event. If you ever get the chance to attend Dragon Con, you probably won’t get a whole lot of sleep during the weekend — but it’s totally worth it.
The things that set Dragon Con apart from other conventions are its diversity and the cosplaying. With nearly forty fan tracks providing thousands of hours of panels all weekend long, it’s not an exaggeration to say that there’s something for everyone. And the cosplay scene is second to none — not even San Diego Comic Con can boast the quantity or quality of the costumes at Dragon Con. Saturday morning features Atlanta’s biggest parade of the year, with thousands of costumed people walking through the streets together and countless more crowding the sidewalks along the route. The Sunday night masquerade contest is always a highlight of the weekend as well, not only because of the incredible costumes on display but also because of the introductions each contestant writes describing the time and effort they poured into their creations. Some of the highlights this year included numerous members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, enough Captain Americas and Black Widows to save the world several times over, platoons of stormtroopers and rebels getting ready for Star Wars Episode VII and Star Wars Rebels, and crowds of Ghostbusters celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the classic film.
The best thing about Dragon Con, however, is always the people. The hotel setting creates an organic, collective atmosphere because everyone spends the entire weekend in the same place. The hotel lobbies are packed with crowds until 4:00 or 5:00 AM, and it’s impossible to go for even a few hours without meeting amazing people from all over the country and the world who love all of the same things you do. The opportunity to give back to the community is a big part of the convention as well; Dragon Con attendees contribute to an official charity and support the largest blood drive in the nation. These are just a few of the reasons why the city of Atlanta is happy to welcome Dragon Con back every year.
If you’ve ever thought about going to Dragon Con, I highly recommend you take the plunge. Next year’s con is only twelve months away, and it’s never too early to start making plans, booking hotels, and coming up with the next great cosplay idea. Dragon Con seeks to make Labor Day Atlanta’s favorite holiday, and if you get the chance to go, the con will make it yours as well.