Dragon*Con 2014 Wrap Up!
DragonCon (previously Dragon*Con) is a multigenre convention, founded in 1987, which takes place once each year in Atlanta, Georgia each year over Labor Day weekend. Encompassing five host hotels and part of the AmericasMart in the downtown area, DragonCon has become one of the biggest fan-run conventions in the country!
It’s a place where fans can meet their favorite celebs (and even interact with them), attend thousands of hours of programming, and pick up some really great gear. There is something going on from the early morning into the wee hours of the night! Video games, British media, Sci-fi, Skeptic track…if you can think of it, there’s probably something for it at DragonCon. There are musical guests, performances throughout the night, official parties, and more!
2014 was the biggest I’ve seen DragonCon, with a reported attendance of over 64,000 people! Attendees used to say Thursday is the new Friday (party and crowd wise), but this year I would say Thursday is the new Saturday. I’ve never seen it that crowded before the convention even started!
With so much going on, there was no way I could see or do it all! I was, however, fortunate enough to attend the “Women In the Video Game Industry” panel on Friday (August 29th). Panelists included Seraphina Brennan (Community Manager at Turbine/WB Games), Pilar Gut-Rod (Video Production at Riot Games), Cameron Harris (Senior Editor at Bioware Montreal), Ann Lemay (Writer at Bioware Montreal), Tiffany Spence (Community/Content Manager at Sony Online Entertainment) and Alison Carrier (UI and UX Designer at Electronic Arts). They answered questions about issues that commonly arise in the gaming industry, such as sexism or objectification of women in the industry, what challenges they as women face on a daily basis working in this industry, and where they’d like to see the gaming industry head in the future. APG Nation wrote a wonderful write up of this panel, which you can read here.
On Saturday, I was able to participate again in the DragonCon parade! It is an experience unique to DragonCon – costumers take over a whole section of Downtown Atlanta and strut our stuff with our respective fandoms and represent! I try to participate every year and this year I was in charge of the Stargate Parade Group. 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of Stargate and we wanted to represent with as many people as possible. We had a really great turnout, and it looks like we’ll be having a large crowd next year as well.
Photo shoots are some of my favorite parts of this convention. There is an unofficial schedule where fan groups work together to schedule massive photos of characters from every genre imaginable. DC and Marvel are the two biggest group photos of course, and there are subsets such as “Gotham/Bat Family”, Sinister Six, Suicide Squad, Villains, Avengers, etc… The people and photos who organize these shoots are amazing. There was also a rather large Robin Williams tribute held. Fans of all genres got together to remember a man who was near and dear to many of us.
Another panel I was fortunate to attend was “An Hour With Jim Butcher”. Jim Butcher is of course the author of one of the greatest book series of all time (in my opinion). If you haven’t read “The Dresden Files” yet, please do so. Now.
If you get a chance, please attend DragonCon at least once. You won’t regret it. Dates for 2015 are September 4th – 7th.