Stats
DRAGON*CON
September 3rd - September 7th, 2015
Atlanta, Georgia

Convention Stats:
Location: Peachtree Center
Event Year: Twenty-Ninth
Reported Attendance: 70,000
Theme: N/A
Sketch's Costumes Worn:
Wadsworth, Clue
Yakko Warner, Animainiacs
Brainiac 5, Legion
Warrior, Final Fantasy I
Shiva's Costumes Worn:
Mrs. Peacock, Clue
Avatar Korra, The Legend of Korra
Emerald Empress, Legion
VICI the Robot, Small Wonder
Triplicate Girl, Legion
Peppermint Crunch, My Little Pony
Banana Surprise, My Little Pony
Coco Berry, My Little Pony
Amy Pond, Doctor Who
Red Mage, Final Fantasy I
Our Events:
Dragon*Con Parade
Convention Photos:







Photo Credits:
Shiva, Lionel Lum, Sketch, Shiva, Sketch, Chinako, Shiva, Sketch (x2), Shiva (x4), Scarlet
Although Dragon*Con has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last few years, this year surprised organizers by topping 70,000 attendees by the end of Labor Day Weekend. Fans from near and far journeyed to the Peach Tree State to celebrate everything pop culture, with featured guests including Karen Gillian from Doctor Who, Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek, Peter Mayhew of Star Wars, and cast members from hit series including Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Despite the huge surge in attendance, the convention felt less claustrophobic than in previous years, partially due to cooler weather conditions and a completely revamped Dealer's Room which made shopping at the AmericasMart an enjoyable experience for the first time since vendors were relocated to that complex. Rowdiness late at night, even on Saturday, was tamer than the previous year, with attendees witnessing relatively harmless acts such as an impromptu rave/band performance in the Marriott fountain instead of assholes throwing beer bottles and sending people to the hospital. We witnessed and experienced many random acts of kindness between attendees throughout the weekend, reinforcing that we were there to have fun and celebrate our common interest. We hope Dragon*Con continues find ways to maintain its sense of community and fun in the face of rapid growth; this year, at least, they successfully maintained that difficult balance.

Sketch and Shiva's Weekend Breakdown:
We flew down to Atlanta early Thursday morning with Scarlet and met up with Majodere at the airport. Once we arrived in Peachtree Center and settled into the Marriott, we headed to the Sheraton to grab our badges and parade wristbands, and then hit up to Caribou Coffee for a much-deserved breakfast and the room for a much-needed power nap. That afternoon we all walked a few blocks to check out The World of Coca-Cola; even though we could care less about soda, the museum itself was a lot of fun to visit and Scarlet is such a Coca-Cola addict it was a must-do. Yes, it’s a gigantic cheesy corporate advertisement for itself, but it’s well-done, with 3-D motion rides, interactive exhibits, and an actor in a partially animatronic polar bear suit that was absolutely adorable. We were having fun joking with the actor while Sketch spent the entire encounter trying to figure out how the bear suit worked. Especially surprising was seeing memorabilia from various Olympic Games on display, including a wall of Olympic Torches - the one from the 1996 Atlanta games included, of course. After exploring for several hours, we grabbed dinner at Max Lager's and met up with Ellystar, Iceman, Doug, and Chinako and changed into our Clue costumes for the night. We had fun wandering the atrium at the Marriott, and Chinako did a great photoshoot with us. Near the end of the night, we relaxed with cocktails at the swanky Polaris lounge at the top of the Hyatt inside the blue rotating dome. It was a blast sipping drinks in our Clue suits and gowns with amazing views of the city!

Friday morning Shiva got into her new Korra costume and we headed out to meet up with Ellystar as Asami and PatrickD as Amon. Sketch took a bunch of photos of the group and Shiva's found the boots to be so comfortable she didn’t want to take them off, so we got a lot of walking around in, checking out the Art Show and Walk of Fame. That afternoon Shiva changed into the Emerald Empress while Sketch, Scarlet, and Chinako started getting into their Animaniacs getups and Majodere into her "Hello Nurse!" outfit. When we went downstairs the Animaniacs crew were absolutely mobbed for photos and it was awesome to see so much love for the show! One guy who was carrying a saxophone came over and played the Animaniacs theme for them, while everyone who walked by shouted “HELLLLLOOOO NURSE!” Shiva, meanwhile, enjoyed freaking people out by making her giant eyeball follow them as they walked by. More people recognized the character than she expected, and she got to chat with quite a few Legion fans. We eventually made it over to the Hyatt to try and find the panel where the Animaniacs voice actors were speaking but we couldn’t locate it, so instead we hit up Metro Café for a late dinner, and took fun pics of the Animaniacs, who really excited the wait staff.

Saturday morning we were marching in the Dragon*Con parade as the cast of the Legion of Super Heroes, with Shiva as Triplicate Girl and Sketch as Brainiac 5. Everyone looked amazing, but poor Majodere had forgotten to pack her Princess Projectra costume, so she joined us as our “photographer” instead. In previous years we had walked to the parade’s starting point, but a change to the parade route this year moved the starting point much further away so a shuttle service was being offered. We got into a huge line and it was already abundantly clear that there were not enough shuttles running; they were coming every 15 minutes and we didn’t get on one until 9:45, when the actual parade started at 10! Luckily the superheroes group we were marching with was located about halfway back in the parade's lineup, but there was a long line of marchers behind us still waiting for a ride. This was terrible planning; it was foolish not to assume most marchers would take advantage of of the shuttle, and since we were all preregistered to participate why didn't they crunch the numbers to determine how many shuttles were needed and how often? At the very least they should have asked us to indicate how many in our group required shuttle transport when we signed up.

The shuttle dropped us a few blocks away from the starting point and we walked to our group just as the front of the parade was leaving the gatehouse. The superhero group was thrilled to see Legionnaires and we got a lot of great photos before it was time to start marching, including one with Superboy and Krypto! Despite the sunny weather it was not overly hot and there was a cool breeze, which we appreciated as we walked. Since we were dressed as more unusual comics characters inside a crowd of very popular DC and Marvel heroes, we tried to march in a line together within the larger group to give our costumes more context and make them more recognizable. It seemed to work; we had quite a few people in the crowd recognize us despite our relative obscurity; one guy even shouted "Legion!" and slapped his bicep were he was showing off an impressively-sized Legion tattoo! Chinako as Shadow Lass was especially popular, and got plenty of shout-outs. If anyone was going to recognize the Legion, it would be Dragon*Con attendees!

Once the parade wrapped up we changed into regular clothes and hit up vendors building at the AmericasMart. Although it was in the same complex as last year it had moved to Building 2; the setup there was a vast improvement, with good traffic flow and vendors were placed on a grid system rather than the stomach twisting labyrinth of the past. Even better, the aisles were labeled with signs hanging from the ceiling, so if the group got separated we could look up and text, “We're in 3-C by the ocarinas,” and everyone could find each other. That evening the Marriott was crowded so we headed afield; Shiva got into VICI and after dinner at Metro Café we wandered through Centennial Park and around downtown, taking photos with locals, watching a fire breather perform under the Atlanta Skyview wheel, and making friends with the horses giving stagecoach rides, who even had their hooves painted in glitter. On our way back to the Marriott we discovered an impromptu concert/glowstick rave happening IN the Marriott fountain, which was highly entertaining to watch.

Sunday morning Shiva, Scarlet, Majodere, Chinako, Ellystar and Kurthy had a shoot with Lionel in their Sundae Best My Little Pony costumes. Sketch helped wrangle the group and took some additional photos afterwards in the Hyatt. Lots of little kids asked for photos with them, including a little boy who was beyond excited to introduce the ponies to his Twilight Sparkle. That afternoon Shiva got into her Amy Pond costume and we tried getting Karen Gillian’s autograph, but her line was a complete shitshow. Her handlers had taken prepayments for autographs the day before, handing out tickets in exchange (we thankfully didn't bother to do this). Today, the people with tickets had no priority in line, which was insanely long and Karen was late. Everyone was confused and those who had already paid were understandably upset. Dragon*Con staff were sympathetic but explained this was all being organized by Karen's team and they were just as confused as we were. We finally decided to leave since we had no money in this mess; we have no idea if everyone eventually got the autographs they had paid for, but it all just seemed like a disaster.

That evening we changed into our 8-Bit Theater/Final Fantasy I costumes and did a small shoot at the Hyatt before hanging around the Marriott for one last evening of partying. The costumes were fun to wear though unusually for Dragon*Con, while people knew our job classes, it didn't seem that anyone recognized the webcomic reference. Oh well, they it was still a fun group though the costumes were a little rushed and could use some work. Monday morning on our way out, we noticed a lot of people taking photos lying on the iconic Marriott carpet, which is when we first got wind it was being ripped out and replaced! We immediately took some of our own to remember it by. So long, Marriott Carpet, and thanks for all the memories!