In 1990 the annual Origins™ Gaming Convention was held at DragonCon (these days it’s stationary, but in olden times it moved around). As a table-top gamer I was super excited to go and see all the new roleplaying games and board games that were being debuted. As I walked through the vendors’ hall, nestled between TSR’s Dungeons and Dragons and Game Designers Workshop were two new games that were premiering: Torg and Rifts. This year at GenCon the big talk was about the revival of Torg and Rifts. It’s the gaming industry. What are you gonna do?
Cosplayers, Gamers and Pop Culture Fans Return for Annual Fantasy, Sci Fi & Gaming Convention
More than 400 Actors, Artists, Authors and Creators Will Give Talks and Meet Fans.
ATLANTA – August 18, 2015 – More than 65,000 people are expected to pack downtown Atlanta over the Labor Day weekend as Dragon Con, the internationally known pop culture, sci fi, fantasy and gaming convention, returns for its 29th consecutive year.
Dragon Con fans will travel from every state in the nation and a few foreign countries to participate in the four-day convention, where they can meet their favorite actors, artists, authors and creators, and talk about the stuff they love.
Guests – More than 400 guests, from the worlds of movies, television, comics, literature and other universes, will lead panel discussions and meet with fans. Battlestar Galactica’s Edward James Olmos, Star Wars’ Peter Mayhew, internet personality Felicia Day, as well as John Barrowman, David Ramsey, and Stephen Amell, all from CW’s Arrow, head an all-star guest list.
Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek’s Lt. Uhura, will serve as grand marshal of the Dragon Con Parade.
And, at this year’s Dragon Con, Sesame Street meets Peachtree. Famed puppeteer Caroll Spinney, who recently retired after 45 years performing Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, as well as Muppet performer Steve Whitmire, who has performed Kermit the Frog since 1990, will appear at the convention.
“We’re very excited about this year’s guest list. We have attracted guests from some of the best shows on television today, including Arrow, Game of Thrones, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and Once Upon A Time,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. “We also have guests from fan favorite shows from recent years, such as Warehouse 13 and classic sci-fi shows such as Doctor Who.”
Cosplay – Dragon Con is well known for the quality of its cosplay – or costume play – and that tradition will certainly continue. The nation’s top cosplayers will show off their best work during the show, participating in costume contests every night of the convention and promenading throughout the five host hotels and the streets of downtown Atlanta.
Cosplay competitions remain a mainstay of Dragon Con, including the queen of competitions, Dragon Con Masquerade, which is both the oldest continuously run competition in fandom as well as one of the largest in the world. Dragon Con is also thrilled to introduce the newest competition, The Chôsen, which will premiere at Dragon Con Night at the Aquarium.
Parade – Atlanta’s largest parade, the annual Dragon Con Parade, will step off Saturday, September 5 at 10 a.m. To better accommodate parade spectators, the parade will have a new route. Beginning at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Linden Avenue, the parade will head south on Peachtree, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
The new route is now a little longer – .9 miles, from .8 miles last year, and brings the route closer to the North Avenue MARTA station, in addition to the Civic Center and Peachtree Center stations. Parking downtown is expected to be tight, and Dragon Con encourages parade spectators to consider taking MARTA.
Gaming – Perhaps better known for the celebrity guests and cosplayers, Dragon Con is also one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation. Taking up most of the Hilton Atlanta Downtown and parts of the Sheraton Atlanta, gaming at Dragon Con features voice actors, game designers and other guests from the worlds of table top and video gaming, as well as the opportunity to play tabletop and LAN gaming in casual and tournament formats.
Official Charity – Earlier this year, Dragon Con selected the Lymphoma Research Foundation – Georgia Market as its official charity for 2015. 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 2014, the convention raised over $115,000 for its official charity, the Atlanta Community Food Bank, and collected 535 pounds of food. 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. Last year’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive attracted a record turnout, with 2,972 attendees donating more than 6,000 units of blood and blood products, benefiting LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospital in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.
About Dragon Con
Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,000 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.