It wasn’t until after we moved to Atlanta eight years ago that we heard of Dragon*con, the annual Labor Day weekend gathering of sci-fi/fantasy enthusiasts and creators. Since Honey and I share a love for many things sci-fi and/or fantasy related, we were eager to go and check out all the event had to offer.
Somehow, we managed to not make it there for eight consecutive years. Sometimes it was a money issue; often, we just had other plans (usually involving out-of-town trips to see family).
This year, however, we finally made it down there, and all I can say is WOW.
The event was expected to attract about 30,000 people to downtown Atlanta this weekend, many of them wearing some type of costume or fan wear. It was incredibly overwhelming and fairly overstimulating for me. There’s just so much to see at once and the volume level is unreal. I’ve been home about two hours now and my head still feels all poundy, like I went to a concert and stood too close to the amps. Still, it was an amazing experience and we’re already making plans to go next year.
We did not pre-register and I won’t do that again because it meant standing in line for an hour to just pay and get our badges. But within about two minutes of walking through the door, I saw one of my earliest fantasy fiction heroes, Anne McCaffrey. She was sitting outside one of the halls, singing autographs. Anne McCaffrey! Signing autographs!
Other celeb sightings? Walter Koening of Star Trek and Babylon5 fame, as well as one of the dudes from Ghosthunters. Don’t ask me what his name is; I don’t watch that show. But my dad does and is a huge fan (I have no idea why; I’m just glad I didn’t inherit his crappy taste in TV) so I took a picture of the back of his head.
As neat as the celebrities are, though, the really cool thing is to just people watch. I saw two Sweeney Todds, a platoon of Storm Troopers, his-and-hers Darth Vaders, the coolest Wizard of Oz quartet ever (Dorothy was MIA) and a flotilla of pirates, all of whom my daugher had to greet and ask if they were married. There also were a number of … interesting costumes, which a huge number of male attendees found creative and inspiring. I don’t have the body to wear a chain-mail thong bikini but I can’t imagine it’s comfortable.
I’m not sure how thrilled Honey is with my plans for next year (“We’re going every day! And different costumes every day! And you’re going to wear a combat kilt!”) but I know we’re both ready to make Dragon*con an annual tradition.