September 1st - 5th, 2011
Atlanta, Georgia

Convention Stats:
Location: Peachtree Center
Event Year: Twenty-Fifth
Reported Attendance: 46,000
Theme: 25th Anniversary
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Mal Reynolds, Firefly
Captain Jack Harkness, Doctor Who
King Kandy, Candyland
Han Solo, Star Wars
Flynn Rider, Tangled
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Chibiusa Tsukino, Sailor Moon Stars
Inara Serra, Firefly
Amy Pond, Doctor Who
Queen Frostine, Candyland
Princess Leia, Star Wars
Padme Amidala, Star Wars
Peppermint Crunch, My Little Pony
Shiva's Performances:
FMV Contest, Drama Category: "Dance with the Devil"
Dance with the Devil FMV:
Shiva's Awards:
Second Place Drama, FMV Contest
Our Events:
Dragon*Con Parade
Last Night on Alderrann
Convention Photos:

Photo Credits:
Over 46,000 attendees flocked to downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2011, celebrating the convention's 25th anniversary with a sprawling four-day party over Labor Day weekend. Headlining the celebrity guest lineup for Dragon*Con's silver anniversary was Princess Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, Marvel comic legend Stan Lee, everyone's favorite 1980s time-traveling Doctor, Christopher Lloyd, Star Trek captains William Shatner and Kate Mulgrew, and the seventh incarnation of The Doctor from Doctor Who, Sylvester McCoy. Other popular guests included Felicia Day of The Guild, Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Bill Corbett and Trace Beaulieu from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the casts of hit shows Supernatural, True Blood, and Eureka. Major events included the Dragon*Con Parade, a Night at the Georgia Aquarium, Robot Battle Microbattles, and an attempt at a Guinness World Record: the largest gathering of people with Steampunk gadgets in one location. A big anniversary also came with several big changes; it only took 25 years, but Dragon*Con finally implemented a computerized registration system which allowed staff members to distribute tens of thousands of badges faster than attendees could pick them up. The ever-popular parade, which traditionally allowed signups for marchers at the convention, also streamlined its organization by enforcing a pre-registration policy with all marchers required to be accounted for prior to arrival in Atlanta. This year also saw the creation of a new fan track within Dragon*Con aimed specifically at children and the young at heart; entitled the Kaleideoscope Track, it's content focused on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network programming.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
Hurricane Irene knocked out our electricity the week of Dragon*Con, and after struggling to pack by flashlight we somehow managed to get ourselves to the airport and down to Atlanta Thursday afternoon with all of the correct costume peices in tow. Majodere, Ellystar, Iceman, Nigoki, PatrickD, Christa, Avien, and Joy were all on our flight which we dubbed the Dragon*Con express, and we we were highly entertained the entire ride down playing trivia against each other on the back of the seat screens. Once we arrived in Atlanta and checked in at the Marriott, we made our way to the Sheraton to pick up our badges; we had heard that the con had finally implemented a computerized check-in system this year, but we had been burned by so many years of waiting for hours that our expectations were low as we joined the giant line wrapped around the building. We were pleasantly surprised, however, when it only took us 40 minutes to get inside the building and we entered the ballroom, only FIVE MINUTES to pick up our badges and cute 25th Anniversary luggage tags. The ballroom line moved so quickly that attendees were practically jogging in opposite directions through the ropes to keep up. In total the entire process took 45 minutes, down from six HOURS last year. Enjoying our newfound free time, we walked downtown to check out Centennial Olympic Park, a remnant from the 1996 Summer Games, which is absolutely beautiful with reflecting pools, fountains, and statuary. After an evening stroll, we grabbed dinner at Metro Café Diner and rested up for the weekend ahead.

Friday morning Shiva got into Eternal Chibimoon and met up with Majodere, Ellystar, Christa, Chinako and the rest of the squad for an Eternal Senshi shoot with Judy Stephens at the Hilton. Sketch served as official group wrangler, running around and fixing bows, wigs, and other items as Judy set up the group shots. It was a blast, and some of the photos will appear in Judy’s new book! Friday afternoon we got into our Firefly costumes and met up with the crew for a larger Firefly group. Hanging out in the Atrium we met a fantastic Zoe cosplayer and invited her to join us at the Hilton for a group photoshoot. She agreed, and we have a blast taking pics around the metal staircases in the Hilton courtyard in the fading sunlight. We had almost a full cast and the industrial backdrop really fit the characters well.

Later that evening we changed into regular clothes and pre-gamed in the room before heading downstairs. Shiva was tipsy but as soon as the elevator bounced when arriving at the Atrium level she loudly announced, "OK, now I'm definately drunk!" so the evening was off to a good start. We ended up hanging out with Brian Brushwood and his entourage on the Pulse Loft; Brian arm wrestled Nigoki while he wore the Infinity Gauntlet and posted a pic of Shiva's nerdy “Coexist” T-Shirt to his fans on Twitter, prompting Sketch to go around bragging that his girlfriend’s boobs were now famous on the internet. We met several actors from The Guild who also took a turn arm wrestling Nigoki with the gauntlet, and Iceman, still dressed as Jayne from our Firefly shoot, was egged on to throw replica Alliance money to the crowd in the Atrium and yell, “I’m Jayne, The Hero of Canton, and I’M MAKIN’ IT RAIN!” which he refused to do. Nigoki stepped in and did it for him, much to our delight. Such a fabulous night!

Saturday morning we were up early and into our Doctor Who costumes to march in the parade; Sketch was wearing his Jack Harkness costume while Shiva wore Amy Pond's wedding dress with PatrickD as the wedding version of the Eleventh Doctor. Nigoki and Ellystar kept it old school as the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane respectively. Any insecurities Shiva had about not being able to finish all of the flower detailing on the wedding dress vanished when the other marchers thought she'd bought the actual Ben DeLisi dress used on the show. There were lots of great cosplayers joining us in the Doctor Who contingent; our favorites included several ladies who had done excellent Iridis costumes, a little girl who was the spitting participating; she and PatrickD danced along the route, doing a little ballroom when the parade paused and running around doing the Doctor’s crazy reception dance when they had to catch up. Sketch and a gaggle of other Jacks were lining up and periodically charging the Daleks, which was hysterical. After the parade, we headed to the Hilton for the Doctor Who photoshoot; the 11th characters were stuck all the way in the back of the group shot, which meant Shiva and PatrickD had to stand the longest in the scorching midday sun while they arranged everybody else after them. Sketch wasn't much better off and by the end we all thought we were going to melt. Once the shoot was over we were all such hot sweaty messes we couldn't wait to go change.

That afternoon it got so hot that as Sketch was walking to the Sheraton in his King Kandy outfit for our Candyland shoot his COSTUME started to melt. Gingerbread was falling off of him, berries were falling off of him, and we pissed off at least two dozen people who begged us to stop for a picture as I hurried behind him in Queen Frostine trying to carry the pieces of his disintegrating costume. We managed to hold it together for the shoot, then Sketch spent two hours putting Kandy back together in the hotel room before reemerging to wander the halls with us, much to the delight of Candyland fans. After dinner Sketch and I changed into our new Princess Leia and Han Solo costumes from Star Wars. We had a few drinks with friends for before crashing the “Last Night On Alderrann” party for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning we headed to the Walk of Fame where I met Gates McFadden and Brent Spiner, aka Dr. Crusher and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and got both their autographs for my poster. Gates is still absolutely gorgeous and both she and Brent were incredibly friendly and talkative, which I did not expect. We then went to Centennial Park to take pics of my Padme Lake Dress from Star Wars and Sketch and Majodere as Flynn and Rapunzel from Tangled. That afternoon I wore Peppermint Crunch from the 1985 My Little Pony series “Sundae Best,” and met up with Gale, Ellystar, and Chinako for a Sundae Best shoot at the Hyatt. Later that evening we went to dinner at Hooters; while we were seated eating, a little girl came in and starting jumping up and down and screaming “MY LITTLE PONIES!”

Monday morning we checked out the Art Show; one woman had a series of unique drawings of humans contorted into poses reminiscent of carousel horses. I also bought several "My Little Demon" prints from Heather Kreiler of Shaman Soul Studios, a series depicting adorably evil versions of My Little Ponies with names like “Electrocutie” and “Corpsie Puff.” That afternoon we went to the Georgia Aquarium with Sketch's sister, niece, and nephew, which is the largest aquarium in the WORLD. They had huge displays, countless unique species to gawk at, and it was all presented in a awe-inspiring and very accessible way. A wonderful way to end the weekend!