Stats
DRAGON*CON
August 28th - September 1st, 2014
Atlanta, Georgia

Convention Stats:
Location: Peachtree Center
Event Year: Twenty-Eighth
Reported Attendance: 63,000
Theme: N/A
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Buster Bunny, Tiny Toon Adventures
King Kandy, Candyland
Mal Reynolds, Firefly
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Tuxedo Mask, Space Senshi
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Babs Bunny, Tiny Toon Adventures
Queen Frostine, Candyland
VICI the Robot, Small Wonder
Umi Ryuuzaki, Magic Knights Rayearth
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Chibiusa Tsukino, Space Senshi
Goddess Nayru, Legend of Zelda
Coco Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot
Our Events:
Dragon*Con Parade
Convention Photos:






Photo Credits:
Shiva, Lionel Lum, Yaya Han, Shiva, Ellystar, Shiva, Sketch, Shiva (x2), Sketch (x2), Chinako
Over 63,000 people arrived in Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2014, smashing previous attendance records and filling the downtown area for a hot and humid Labor Day weekend. Headlining the star-studded guest list was Sir Patrick Stewart from X-Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame and Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride. Other notable guests included Karl Urban, Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid, Kristin Bauer from True Blood, and even John Ratzenberger from Cheers! Popular events included A Night at the Georgia Aquarium and the Dragon*Con Parade through downtown on Saturday, which attracted a whopping 75,000 onlookers. Despite the festive atmosphere, Dragon*Con's size really started to push its comfort limits this year, with tightly packed hotel lobbies and food courts. This was exacerbated by the disgustingly hot weather and malfunctioning A/C in the Marriott, which created unbearably steamy and claustrophobic conditions in the Pulse area. Although Dragon*Con generally attracts an older crowd, its reputation as a "party con" has started to bring a contingent of rowdy, younger people who on Saturday night were doing drugs in the Marriott lobby bathroom and threw several beer bottles into to lobby from many stories up, seriously injuring several people with glass shrapnel. Despite security checking badges or keys at the doors, crowding still seemed to include gawkers off the street, who pile into the lobbies with drinks in hand to party. Security staff may need to become more stringent and expand the hours during which they police the entrances. Hopefully the convention is able to address these problems as its popularity continues to increase.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
This year we decided to head out earlier than usual, catching a 6AM flight with Scarlet down to Atlanta. As a result, we had checked in, picked up our badges and parade passes without any wait, and had a relaxing breakfast at Caribou Coffee before 10! With an entire Thursday to kill, we jumped on the MARTA and rode it a few stops to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It was a 20 minute walk from the MARTA station to the entrance, but the signage was terrible and it took us another half hour figure out how to enter the exhibits. Once we got into the gardens proper, the place was amazing; there were gigantic topiaries and art pieces, canopy walks, reflecting pools, frog ponds, blown glass art sculptures, fountains, and even an entire building dedicated to orchids. We spent hours roaming, and when we left around 5PM they were just setting up for their “Cocktails in the Garden” party, which apparently happens every Thursday night in the summer. Had we known about the event we would have planned to attend; it would be beautiful to see the place lit up at night. Back at the hotel we met up with friends for dinner at Metro Café before changing into our Tiny Toon Adventures costumes. We spent the night hanging out in the atrium sipping drinks - a perfect start to the weekend.

Friday morning, we headed out with Shiva's Star Trek: The Next Generation cast poster in hand, on a scouting mission for Patrick Stewart’s autograph room. She had been collecting all of the TNG crew's signatures at Dragon*Con since 2011, and Stewart was the only one left. We finally found the room, and planned to make a beeline for it after his panel at 1PM. It was only 10:30 so we staked out a spot to “mill about” in the Marriott atrium before the official line started at noon. So many people were doing the same thing that by 11:30 the con staff, who had tried valiantly to disperse the crowd, gave up and started the line. The panel was fantastic; Sir Patrick was on top of things, remembering specifics about projects from over 40 years ago. The audience asked very intelligent questions; one was about a specific pause in a line from his stage performance of Macbeth, a nuance which completely thrilled Stewart, while another involved stage combat, and another inquired as to the best piece of advice he had received and who had given it to him: an acting teacher who had said, “You will never achieve true success by insulating yourself from failure.” He was also asked about his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video and what other worthy causes he advocated for, and about his friendship with Ian McKellan, whom he admitted he was attempting to persuade to attend Dragon*Con.

The panel was over too soon, and we rushed down to the autograph room to snag a spot since he was only going to be there for an hour. We got a great position by planning ahead, and only waited 20 minutes to get through the line. Sir Patrick was really nice; Sketch took photos as Shiva unrolled her poster and joked that she had “saved the best for last,” to which Stewart chuckled. Mission accomplished, we headed back to the room to drop off the now completed poster and change into our Candyland costumes. This year we finally had a full cast for the first time, and when we met up with the rest of the group we were mobbed for photos. At the Hyatt, a little girl dressed as Vanellope from Wreck It Ralph in a tricked-out Sugar Rush car also asked to take her photo with us. Finally Ellystar helped us do our own shoot at the columns across the street, which came out great. That evening Shiva wore VICI from Small Wonder and Sketch got into Mal and we met up with our friends in their Jem and the Holograms costumes for dinner before hanging out at the Marriott.

Saturday morning we were up early to march in the parade as the full cast of Legends of the Hidden Temple! As we walked to the staging area, a small contingent from the Westboro Baptist Church was protesting on the sidewalk. Shiva was carrying a Styrofoam carving of the silver monkey from the show that Sketch had made, and a protester with a megaphone accused her of worshiping idols, because apparently we think a replica prop from a kid's game show is some kind of god? Get bent, assholes. We were a part of the Kaleidoscope Track which is specifically for children’s programming, and we had a marching band just ahead of us. Every time the parade paused for them to play, we’d start running around the street, tossing silver monkey pieces at each other. Two of us would attempt to assemble it, screwing it up for as long as possible, before finally putting it together as the crowd laughed and cheered. We were a disgusting wet, sweaty mess before we even hit the halfway mark from all the running and jumping around, but we were supposed to look bloody and dirty and disgusting, so it actually just added to our costumes. We got such an awesome reception that it was worth it, but as soon as the parade ended we all went straight back to our rooms to shower!

Saturday afternoon Shiva wore Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth while Sketch decided he'd rather stay comfortable and walk around. The Marriott was so crowded and hot it was oppressive, and Sketch had to help Shiva get out before she fainted. When we tried to get lunch at nearly 4PM, the food court was packed, tables chalk full of people who were done with their food but inconsiderately taking up space playing on their phones. Eat and then GTFO! After 45 minutes we finally got a table and Shiva felt much better after finally eating something. That evening we wore our new Space Senshi costumes; they took a while to get into but we looked so awesome and glowy! Chinako took some photos of us by the Marriott fountain and we were mobbed for photos at the Marriott. These costumes were fun to wear and we loved spraying people with our bubble guns! They need some tweaking however, as the battery packs were annoying to carry around; hopefully we can get a full group some other time.

Sunday morning Shiva, Chinako, and Ellystar got into their Golden Goddesses costumes and met up with Benn Robbins for a shoot by the columns with the dresses draping over the architecture. They also held up the Triforce in the center of the columns just as the sun came out, making everything glow. Sketch took a few more photos of them by the pool at the Sheraton before they changed back into regular clothes. We met up with Scarlet who was all aglow from meeting her childhood crush Carey Elwes, and we all went to the vendor's building, spending a couple of hours checking out the dealers. They had some great stuff as usual, and though the traffic flow was much better this year and there was improved signage, it was still overwhelming. Sunday night Shiva decided to jump into Coco from Crash Bandicoot, and lots of people shouted “OOGA BOOGA!” with huge smiles as she walked past. After a few cocktails in the room watching the masquerade, we went back to the atrium to party. Scarlet bumped into RJ Haddy from Face Off at the Pulse bar. Shiva's Ooga Booga mask floated above the crowd, serving as a great location marker for any of our friends trying to find us or when one of the crew walked off to get drinks. Finally we went to Metro Café where we sang along to horrible karaoke while eating delicious cake until 3AM. This Dragon*Con was SO MUCH FUN!