Dragon Con 2018 Aug 30 – Sept. 3

Dragon Con 2017

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

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 most celebrated 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 85,000 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 exciting people wearing elaborate costumes, some of which have been worked on all year just for this event. There are many 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 and streaming live on the ATLCW.TV website. You will beat the crowds and still have all the fun.

Dragon Con 2017

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

The Walk of Fame, located at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, is where you can get autographs from some of your favorite TV programs and movies.

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 “Black Lightning’ “Arrow,” “The 100,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’ 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. Dragon Con’s gaming programming is located at 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.

Dragon Con 2017

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

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” “The Buffy Horror Picture Show” 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,

Dragon Con 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.

Dragon Con 2017

Photo courtesy of Mike McKinney

Evangeline Lilly, star of “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” and a trio of actors from “Avengers: Infinity War” Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, and Benedict Wong will be on hand greeting fans and leading panels. Gillan and Klementieff also starred in 2017’s “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”. Portions of all three Marvel movies – as well as Gillan’s “Jumanji” were filmed in and around Atlanta.

Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin, the middle school heroes from “Stranger Things,” will be at the convention. Four actors representing “Black Lightning” China McClain, Christine Adams, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III, and Nafessa Williams will be there. “The Flash” actor Tom Cavanagh, “Arrow” and “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow’”John Barrowman and stars of “The 100” Erica Cera and Henry Ian Cusick.

Dragon Con takes place in downtown Atlanta Aug. 30th through Sept. 3rd.

For more information go to www.dragoncon.org

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