Dragon Con 2013

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Source: Mike McKinney

Source: Mike McKinney

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Mike Mike has a degree in Film from The University of Texas at Austin. He has worked in the entertainment industry for the past 25 years and sees two to four new movies in the theatre a week. Mike has a weekly movie blog where he reviews films both present and past at:

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Dragon Con 2013

Photo Courtesy of Mike McKinney

Photo Courtesy of Mike McKinney

Labor Day weekend is upon once again. Which brings us not only football and NASCAR to Atlanta, but for many passionate fans, Labor Day weekend means that it’s the time of year for one of Atlanta’s greatest events, Dragon Con.  Located in 5 downtown hotels, at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Sheraton Atlanta and Westin Peachtree Plaza. Dragon Con brings together actors, writers, comic book artists, singers, dancers and cosplayers to celebrate all things pop culture related. Last year Dragon Con had over 52,000 attendees over the 4 day event.

What makes Dragon Con unique from other cons including Comic Con, is that Dragon Con isn’t located in just one convention center, it’s spread out over five hotels.  This means that the streets of downtown Atlanta will be filled with interesting people wearing elaborate costumes, some of which have been worked on all year just for this event.  There are a number of costume contests, some of which have themes like “Star Wars” or “Star Trek.”

Source: Mike McKinney

Photo Courtesy of Mike McKinney

While you do need a pass to get into the Con, you can watch the famous Dragon Con parade on Saturday morning for free.  You will see just about every cartoon, anime and super hero character, along with a variety of other delightful cosplayers in the procession.  The highlight of the parade is the legion of “Star Wars” Storm troopers that finish the parade.  The Parade has a new route this year, with the festivities starting at 10 am. The parade will march South on Peachtree St. to International, where it makes a left. Another left on Peachtree Center Drive brings the parade back to the Hyatt and Marriott.  Be sure to get to the parade site early, as the sidewalks along the parade route fill up quickly.

The Walk of Fame, located at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, is where you can get autographs from actors like Lee Majors (“The Six Million Dollar Man”), William Shatner (“Star Trek”), Lucy Lawless (“Xena; Warrior Princess”), Billy Dee Williams (“The Empire Strikes Back”) and Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”).

The Dragon Con Dealers Hall, located in the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, is where you can buy just about anything your geeky heart desires – from Steampunk clothing to comic books and rare collectible artwork.

Source: Mike McKinney

Photo Courtesy of Mike McKinney

There are a number of panels throughout the weekend. Some are located in very large halls, while others occupy smaller conference rooms. You can find panels on just about everything you can imagine covering the gambit of fandom; from your favorite current and past Sci-Fi shows, such as “True Blood,” “Battlestar Galactica,: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Game of Thrones” and CW’s own “Arrow.”

If art is your thing, then you will want to go to the Comic and  Pop Art Alley.  You can talk to and buy work from comic book writers, artists and publishers. A number of panels and how-to-workshops are held throughout the con.  There are also a number of live performances including the “Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue” and “The Late Night Puppet Slam.” There are bands of just about every genre, including jazz, punk, rock and folk; some with themes to them such as Abney Park, a Steampunk band based out of Seattle and the New York Disco Villains, who have been compared to the B-52’s with a little Sci-Fi thrown in.

Source:  Mike McKinney

Photo Courtesy of Mike McKinney

Dragon Con will also be participating in two events outside of the Convention halls.  On Thursday, Aug. 29, the Atlanta Braves will be hosting Dragon Con Night at Turner Field.  Lou Ferrigno (“The Incredible Hulk”) will lead an on-field costume parade before the game begins.  Liam McIntyre (“Spartacus”) will throw out the first pitch and Lucy Lawless (“Xena”) will call “Play Ball.” The game between the Braves and the Cleveland Indians will start at 7:10 pm. A portion of the price of each ticket will go toward the three official charities – Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, Georgia Conservancy and Marcus Autism Center. Tickets start at just $7 and must be purchased from this website to support the charities: Dragon Con Night At Turner Field

On Saturday night, Aspen Comics and Dragon Con take over The Georgia Aquarium with the Aspen Comics Beach Party, celebrating the 10th anniversary of Aspen and the 15th anniversary of their flagship title, “Fathom.”   Featuring DJ Spider, Aspen creators and an Aspen-themed costume contest –  this is an exclusive “after hours” opportunity to explore the world’s largest aquarium while commemorating one of the industry’s most respected and beloved comics publishers.

This year’s aquarium event will be held Saturday, Aug. 31, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Advance tickets are $22 per person until August 29, and $25 per person thereafter. Shuttle buses will be provided for the event. For additional details or to purchase tickets, please visit the Georgia Aquarium site at www.georgiaaquarium.org/dragoncon

Be sure to catch the “Arrow” panels on Sunday and Monday. The CW Crew will be attending, so be sure to stop by and say hi.

Dragon Con starts Friday August 30 and goes through Monday September 2. For information on Dragon Con, admission prices and venue locations go to the Dragon Con Website

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