Fans Celebrating Fandom
A look back at Dragon Con 2015 and a look forward to 2016
by Lawrence Green
For pop-culture fans and costumers, summertime means a calendar full of events and conventions with a wide range of fandoms represented. As the year moves from summer to fall, one of the last major conventions on many members’ schedules is Dragon Con. Held across five hotels in the downtown Atlanta area, Dragon Con celebrated its 29th year of drawing fans in from all over the world.
Dragon Con prides itself on its volunteers who provide a convention “for fans, by fans.” It has a strong connection with its attendees’ varied interests, literally covering fandom from A to Z, with several major tracks highlighting the annual offering of panels, guests, and attendee parties.
Over the four days of the convention, Dragon Con provided author discussions, fan group interaction, costuming panels, a few surprises and special events, and the notable appearances of many featured guests from virtually every corner of fandom. Attendees with interests in anything from animation to tabletop gaming, Game of Thrones to Arrow, or Star Trek to Doctor Who found fellow fans, programming, and special guests celebrating their shared fandom love.
Among this year’s noteworthy guests, the Star Wars track featured two of the greatest pilots in the Star Wars galaxy: Peter Mayhew and Vanessa Marshall. Panel attendees heard fun and exciting behind-the-scenes tales from both Chewbacca and Rebel’s Hera, including a declaration by Vanessa: while the Ghost is stealthier, when you really need to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, the Millennium Falcon remains the only choice. As Peter noted: “…really, could do it in eight, if needed….”
Dragon Con is especially renowned for the special effort and creativity many costuming groups and attendee-costumers undertake, from new designs to interactive displays and pop culture favorites. Many Dragon Con attendees take particular pride in the annual parade of costumers, and this year’s parade debuted a new and longer route to celebrate the parade’s popularity. Led by Grand Marshal Nichelle Nichols, parade-watchers were treated to the largest Dragon Con parade yet, filled with fan favorites and more than a few unique creative efforts.
This year’s Dragon Con also debuted a new evening costume contest and attendee party at the Georgia Aquarium. The aquarium hosts provided convention attendees with an event they wouldn’t soon forget, combining the fun of Dragon Con with an opportunity to take in the aquarium’s exhibits.
As with all good things, the closing ceremonies reluctantly brought this year’s Dragon Con to a close and marked the beginning of the countdown for Dragon Con 2016.
Attendees reluctantly packed up their lightsabers, Batsuits, swords, and months-long costuming efforts and made ready to return home with heartfelt promises to return next year to reconnect and discover what their next experience at Dragon Con will feature.
Lawrence Green — civil servant by day, Jedi by night. He is a photographer. MacGyver to geeks. He loves good film, television, food — and coffee. Good coffee. The Dark Knight is his spirit animal.