Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA is unlike any other pop culture convention out there. While most modern conventions focus on the industry side of our favorite hobbies, complete with hour long lines to buy convention exclusives and impossible to get into raffled signings, Dragon Con is whole different animal. It genuinely feels like a convention for the fans by the fans. Dragon Con is sometimes called ‘Nerd Mardi Gras’ for a reason. It’s the perfect place to let your freak flag fly, but it might need an explanation if this is your first time making your pilgrimage to Peachtree Street.
An estimated 85,000 people are expected to attend DragonCon 2018 this Labor Day Weekend – from Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 – with events and activities across five host hotels (more on that later). Overall, Dragon Con will welcome more than 400 guests – not just celebrities but also authors, artists, and other creators and experts – from across science, science fiction, and fantasy worlds – in whatever medium. A number of the guests have found work in the Georgia film and television industry, but not always in front of the camera. Some guests work in costuming – similar but distinct from cosplay – prop building, fight choreography, script writing, and other technical roles.
That’s part of what sets DragonCon apart from the rest of the convention scene; not just the usual celebrity guests making the rounds on the convention circuit but the creatives behind the camera/pen/needle/sword come down to share their knowledge.
Remember that part about five host hotels? DragonCon is spread out between five easy to walk to hotels in the downtown Atlanta area. The Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree, and Sheraton Atlanta as well as the America’s Mart Buildings #1 and #2 are going to be your main hubs for more than 3,500 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music, and gaming over four days.
How could all of these events possibly be organized? DragonCon’s programming is split into ‘fan tracks’, each track specializing and curating programming and guests based on their interests. A fan of The X-Files? Discover if the truth is in fact out there in the X-Track. A fan of Asian cinema? Head down the Silk Road. British Sci-Fi your thing? Park your Tardis at the BritTrack. Don’t be shocked to see improv shows next to puppeteering panels down the street from filk reading at the same time as sword fighting demos. If you are remotely into a thing, Dragon Con has you covered.
So Much to Do, So Little Time
Dragon Con is host to a variety of unique panels and experiences you can’t find anywhere else. Here are just a few of them:
- Dragon Con Wrestling-Hyatt Centennial I-III, Thursday, Aug 30th 7:00 PM-Dragon Con kicks things off right with live wrestling from the best indie wrestlers from all over the USA.
- Jodo: Japanese Art of Staff Fighting-Hilton Grand East, Friday, Aug 31th, 4:00 PM – A demo & history of a rare samurai art, the only martial to have defeated the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi.
- The Puppetry of MST3K-Marriott A704, Friday, Aug 31st 2:30 PM-In this in-depth seminar, show creator Joel Hodgson breaks down his thinking on bringing Tom, Crow and Gypsy to life.
- The 17th Annual Dragon Con Parade-Saturday, Sept 1st 10:00 AM-Gather your costume & muster at 9:30am sharp to join the Grand Marshals for the biggest parade in Atlanta. The parade is also broadcast on the local CW network.
- The Notorious [Zombie Related] Erotic FanFic Show-Westin Augusta E-H, Sunday, Sept 10:00 PM-This panel hosted by DC Douglas is a can’t miss event. Why? Well, you’ll have to go to it to find out. What happens in the panel, stays in the panel.
- Kilt Blowing with Jennie Breeden-Hyatt International North, Sunday, Sept 2nd 1:00 AM-It’s exactly what it says on the tin. Want to see what happens when a leaf blower gets introduced to volunteers wearing their best and finest kilts? Come on down.
Haven’t figured out how to split yourself up into multiple bodies to experience it all? Dragon Con offers Dragon Con TV. Normally this feed is piped into the host hotel’s TVs but if you’re in any of the surrounding hotels or watching the festivities from home, DCTV broadcasts most of the major panels for your viewing pleasure.
- The official DragonCon App is your best friend for the weekend. It’s updated every day to reflect panel changes, includes maps of all of the host hotels, lists of panelists/guests/exhibitors and gaming schedules. It’s available for Apple and Android devices.
- Hear that rumbling in the distance? That’s the stampede heading to the Peachtree Food Court in Peachtree Center. Located in the connecting hallways between the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and the Marriott Marquis, fooding up here when on the run is the best and easiest way to stay alive. Braving the line for Yami Yami sushi at least once during the weekend is a must.
- Check the local bars, restaurants and night clubs in the downtown area for Dragon Con specials and themed events.
- Dress for chewable humidity. This is Atlanta in late August. All the moisture inside your body will be on the outside very quickly. Hydrate frequently, eat those meals and for the love of all that is holy, deodorant.
- There are hills/paved inclines between some of the host hotels outside. There are routes indoors to get between some of the hotels and venues but be prepared for uphill battles with your legs at times.