Maria Jackson's picture
By Maria Jackson

Dragon Con 2016: Oh, Just 77,000 of Your Closest Friends!

Dragon Con turned the big 3-0 this year and celebrations were held all week. From meet-ups, parties, and brunches, Nerdi Gras kicked off like never before! Fans, creators, and artists came from as far as Japan, New Zealand, and Fiji swarming Atlanta for the big celebration. Over 77,000 fellow geeks, nerds, and enthusiasts from all fifty United States gathered and to be honest, this number scared me. Generally, I don’t mind crowds and I love the events and the people I meet at the con, but the sheer number of so many thousands in one place can feel crushing and overwhelming, particularly in the Dealer’s Room. I know I wasn’t alone and it looks like DC listened! This year’s convention was a year of firsts and reveals.

DC launched some meaty Thursday and Monday programming, filling each day with quality events for all types of attendees. Taking these two days from bare bones travel and prep with little pep to must attend events. DC also commenced The Dragon Awards, where fans can vote on their favorites in the fields of science fiction and fantasy in books, comic books, games and filmed entertainment. And much to my ecstatic relief, the Dealer’s Room expanded to AmericasMart Building 2, adding 215,000 more square feet, allowing buyers and perusers much more room to breathe. For the first time in a couple of years I was able to enjoy the wares, art, and goodies expanding before me without feeling like a (hot & sweaty) sardine.

Another improvement witnessed this year centered on the annual parade. 2016’s DC attendees weren’t made to choose between recovering from Friday night’s parties or racing down to reserve a prime viewing spot. Thanks to Atlanta’s CW69 broadcasting the Dragon Con parade live on television, it was possible to see all the amazing cosplay with a hot coffee from the comfort of your bed.

For a more leisurely journey through some of the Dragon Con’s best cosplay, check out the video below!

Dragon Con attendees also got the scoop on some exciting gaming and TV news! Everyone’s favorite pilot, Alan Tudyk, announced the release of Con Man The Game, a mobile game based on Tudyk’s hit web series Con Man. The game will allow players to build and run their own mini Dragon Cons. Mythbusters’ Tory Belleci and Kari Byron along with Grant Imahara will star in the upcoming Netflix original series White Rabbit Project. The show will feature episodes on “...weird and wonderful events from pop culture, science and history. Under their microscope are topics as diverse as jailbreaks, superpower technology, heists and crazy World War II weapons.” (x)

Dragon Con has a reputation of being fan focused, but with growing positive recognition, their guest list can also make the stars align. For the first few years I attended Dragon Con, I attended a mix of old and new fandom panels. But as we get further and further from the last aired episode of Buffy, I knew I needed to move on and expand. This year I attended two of the biggest panels: the Flash and Arrow panel and Legends of Tomorrow: Vandalized!

As tradition dictates, I visited the Walk of Fame to see and speak to some of my favorite actors. I stood in line for nearly two hours to ask Carlos Valdes about his lustrous hair secrets, but he was too savvy to divulge. Alexander Siddig shared my lament of his character in Game of Thrones being killed off far too early. I only caught a glimpse of Charlie Cox, and yes, he’s even more handsome in person. Other favorites, Alex Kingston, James Marsters, etc, I didn’t get to see. Unfortunately, scheduling of appearances on the Walk of Fame are still hard to guess, but it’s always worth the dice roll to see who you can see.

If you or anyone you know is a geek, nerd, blerd, or enthusiast of any kind, you should not hesitate to attend Dragon Con. If you watch my parade and cosplay video, you will see fandoms for any and everything you can think of. Of course you have your superheros, your anti-heros, princesses, and the like, but you also have Ida B. Wells cosplay, the periodic table cosplay. There is even a Cult of the Marriott Carpet group! If you’re a fan of it, you’re going to find it at Dragon Con. Memberships for 2017 are already on sale for $80 until September 19, 2016.

For more photos & videos of the panels, click to see my Dragon Con 2016 album!