Some come to Atlanta to attend Dragon*con Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention to meet their favorite celebrities, like Carrie Fisher and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]William Shatner[/lastfm]. Some come to dress up like their favorite characters from Dr. Who, Middle Earth or anything with zombies. Others come to attend workshops and panels, or see films, or engage in gaming. Lots of people shop for things they can’t get at the mall, like Steampunk accessories, assortments of comics, and authentic looking swords. And, some come to party.
But there is one thing that everyone comes to Dragon*con for, and that’s to be around like-minded, like-hearted people. You can feel it in the atmosphere. Complete strangers, standing on a long line waiting for a lecture, chatting with each other as if they’ve known each other for years. Stop anyone in costume as they’re rushing by and say “may I take your picture?” and they will gladly stop and strike an obviously rehearsed character pose for their close-up.
A highlight of the weekend was the parade on Saturday morning. The parade consisted of con-goers, broken down into groups, like Harry Potter, Star Trek or Firefly, walking up Peachtree Street in their costumes, some celebrities such as Loni Anderson and Howard Hessman and some marching bands. The Northview High School Titan Marching Band and a past favorite, Feed and Seed Band provided peppy music for the crowds lining the avenue.
[pullquote quote=”A group of brightly colored costumed aerobics exercisers conducted an impromptu class on the sidewalk.”]If you had a hotel room, you could watch DragonconTV on a hotel channel, where they run parody videos, live feeds of some panels, the parade, and more. Out in the streets among the 5 host hotels, were thousands of people in costume, and thousands more, watching and appreciating them. Big cameras, little cameras, cellphone cameras and video cameras all captured the beautiful, the odd, the funny, the scary, the amazing and the cute. At one point, on Peachtree Street, a group of brightly colored costumed aerobics exercisers conducted an impromptu class on the sidewalk. Passersby joined in. A few feet away, some musicians who were just hanging out started playing music to accompany them. Everyone was just… happy.
This year, the convention organizers added two new things to give attendees a better experience — a smartphone app of the schedule and a much faster registration experience. The free smartphone app updated with new info every time you launched it and allowed users to “star” favorite events that would place the event on a calendar for them. The new process of registration, which is where attendees pick up their pass that they have paid for ahead of time, shortened the wait time to practically nothing.