Dragon Con Happened, and I Was There
[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on She Geeks, it was republished here with permission.]
Ah, Dragon Con… Spanning four days, five hotels (plus the AmericasMart), and boasting attendance numbers over 70,000, it’s one of the World’s largest geek conventions. It’s also the convention I cut my teeth on way back in the *coughcough1990scoughcough*. Though it’s changed a lot over the years, Dragon Con will always hold a special place in my heart. There are tons of people who will never miss a year, and tons more who have Dragon Con on their geeky bucket list (and for good reason). This was the 29th year for Dragon Con, and it did not disappoint.
First and foremost, I’d like to give a tip of my hat to the men and women of the Dragon Con Security team. Dragon Con is, in many circles, considered a party convention, and considering the vast number of pop-up bars scattered around the hotels and the loads and loads of alcohol packed coolers brought in by visitors, that’s a pretty accurate description. It’s incredibly difficult to try and maintain the safety of tens of thousands of people (most of whom have been steadily drinking for days) with a staff of volunteers, on a 24 hour basis. All things considered, the Dragon Con staff handled things better than I ever could have expected. I had a special security request (I know, I’m such a diva), and was welcomed into the Security room with open arms, sensitivity, and absolutely no push back. When I walked in and briefly explained my situation, I was brought into a quiet area and treated with sincere respect by everyone. In addition to the official security volunteers, the various hotels stepped up their game to assist in crowd control, and speaking as someone who remembers well the years of photo op bottlenecks and literally running into people when trying to get off the escalators, it was appreciated.
There is something happening somewhere at Dragon Con at any given moment. Be it a panel, a blood drive, a massive group photo shoot, a room party, a parade, or a rave, it’s pretty much never boring. Sometimes people party a little too hard, or forget to take care of themselves and become someone’s ‘Dragon Con Horror Story’ (even a seasoned pro like myself – to the girl in the 2nd floor hallway of the Hyatt on Saturday night, I am so, so sorry…), but for the most part the whirl and chaos that is Dragon Con is a beautiful thing to witness. For example, one of my favorite random moments from this year was an actual wedding between cosplayer, Faces of Freya and artist, Gambit’s Ink. It was held at the base of a grand staircase in the lower lobby of the Marriott on a busy Friday night. Witnessed by friends and strangers alike, presided over by a friend, and helped in no small part by legendary comic writer and illustrator, George Perez, the short ceremony seemed to pause the chaos for a few sincere moments and remind everyone that there’s more to Dragon Con than just cosplay and partying.
This is not to say that the cosplay isn’t worth the price of admission alone; it is. Cosplay is such a big deal at Dragon Con that in addition to costume contests, there are countless group photo shoots:
…and the wildly popular cosplay parade (that I missed thanks to a press conference):
If, like me, you missed the parade there were still plenty of amazing cosplay creations wandering around the convention to fill your eye-holes:
Between the cosplay, guests (stay tuned for my interviews with some of the convention’s awesome guests), vendors, charity work (they raised over $100,000 for the Lymphoma Research Foundation and held a massive blood drive throughout the weekend), weddings, and panels galore there’s something for everyone at Dragon Con. I’ll be there next year, will you?
Eris Walsh (@SheGeeksBlog) is obsessed with Batman, Neil Gaiman, chemistry, Doctor Who, and baseball. She also enjoys scouring conventions for fantastic examples of cosplay craftsmanship and discussing role-playing games (both table top and LARP), comics, movies, etc. with other enthusiasts. Eris can also be found on her blog She-Geeks, where she writes about geek stuff; On Comicosity, where she posts comic book reviews; and on the Krewe du Who community webpage, where she posts weekly reviews of current Doctor Who episodes.
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