Dragon Con 2016 – Sept. 2nd – 5th
Labor Day weekend is upon us once again. 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, Westin Peachtree Plaza and at AmericasMart 1 and 2. Dragon Con brings together actors, writers, comic book artists, singers, dancers and cos-players to celebrate all things pop culture related. They are expecting a record crowd of over 75,000 attendees for this year’s 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, plus AmericasMart. 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.”
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 superhero character, along with a variety of other delightful cos-players in the procession. The highlight of the parade is the legion of “Star Wars” Stormtroopers that finish the parade. The Parade is a fan favorite with the festivities starting at 10 am. Check the Dragon Con website for details of the parade route. Be sure to get to the parade site early, as the sidewalks along the parade route fill up quickly and taking Marta to the parade is highly suggested. If you can’t make it to the parade, then stay at home and watch it on Atlanta’s CW starting at 10 am (repeating at 8 pm). You will beat the crowds and still have all the fun. Find out more about Atlanta’s CW broadcast of the parade.
The Walk of Fame, located at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, is where you can get autographs from actors like Some of this year’s top guests include William Shatner and Alexander Siddig, who will help mark 50 years of Star Trek plus Alex Kingston (Dr. Who), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Jack Gleeson (Game of Thrones), Alan Tudyk (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), and Charlie Cox (Daredevil).
Brian Henson, master puppeteer, and son of the late Jim Henson, will be on hand to talk about the 30th anniversary of Labyrinth. And puppeteers Brian Herring and Dave Chapman will talk about their work as the hands behind BB-8, the ball-shaped droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The Dragon Con Dealers Hall, located in AmericasMart, is where you can buy just about anything your geeky heart desires – from Steampunk clothing to comic books and rare collectible artwork.
There are a ton of panels throughout the weekend. Some are located in enormous 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 “Battlestar Galactica,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Game of Thrones” and CW’s own “Arrow,” “The 100,” “iZombie,” and “The Flash.”
Gaming is going to be big this year at Dragon Con! Already one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation, Dragon Con has expanded its gaming space by more than 60 percent for its 30th Anniversary convention. This year, Dragon Con’s gaming programming will move to the Westin Peachtree Plaza and the adjacent AmericasMart Building One, where it will take up a combined 140,000 square feet. Panels, contests, and parties will be held at the Westin while free gaming, paid tournaments, and similar events will be held in Americas Mart. As always gaming will be open to all Dragon Con members 24×7 for the convention.
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. Panels and how-to-workshops on comics are held throughout the con. There are also a bunch of live performances including the “Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue” “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog” and “The Late Night Puppet Slam.” There are bands of just about every genre, including jazz, punk, rock and folk.
In the spirit of the Dragon and with infinite admiration, Dragon Con has created The Dragon Award as a vessel to recognize excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy. These awards will be by the fans, for the fans, and are a chance to reward those who have made real contributions to SF, books, games, comics, and shows. The awards will be announced on Sunday, Sept. 4th at 1:00 pm.
Earlier this year, Dragon Con selected the Atlanta Center for Self-Sufficiency as its official charity for 2016. Through auctions and other charity events, plus a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000 from Dragon Con, the convention will raise money to support this important community organization. In 2015, the convention raised over $100,000 for its official charity, the Lymphoma Research Foundation – Georgia Market. Through the Superheroes community service program, Dragon Con fans contributed more than 900 hours of community service.
Dragon Con also conducts the largest convention-based blood drive in the nation. Some 3,000 fans donated more than 6,000 units of blood and blood products in the annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive, benefiting LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospitals in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.
Be sure to catch the CW panels at Dragon Con as “The Flash” stars Carlos Valdez (Cisco Ramon), Violett Beane (Jesse Wells), “Legends of Tomorrow” stars Ciara Renee (Kendra Saunders / Hawkgirl), Caity Lotz (Sara Lance / White Canary), “The 100” stars Jarod Joseph (Nathan Miller), Sachin Sahel (Jackson), Lindsey Morgan (Raven Reyes), Bob Morley (Bellamy Blake), and ”iZombie” stars Aly Michalka (Peyton Charles), Rose McIver ( Olivia Moore), and David Anders (Blaine DeBeers).
Look for me at the con and be sure to come back to the ATLCW.TV website as I will be posting pictures all weekend. Also, look for the CW Crew out and about Dragon Con on Saturday and Sunday.
Dragon Con starts Friday, September 2nd and goes through Monday, September 5th. For information on Dragon Con, admission prices and venue locations go to the Dragon Con website at www.dragoncon.org.