One thing you can’t do when talking about Cons is compare them side-by-side. Each is its own unique monster, and that’s what makes going to different venues exciting. Dragon Con (DC) is in its 28th year, held on Labor Day weekend, it’s a 4 ½ day party all about the Con goer themselves. Dragon Con does many things the right way, although I have a few complaints for the city of Atlanta itself. All-in-all it’s a tremendous event.
Labor Day weekend is a busy weekend in any destination city. Atlanta packed in an estimated 800k for Dragon Con, Alabama’s opener vs. West Virginia in college football blocks away from the Con at the Georgia Dome, a NASCAR race, and Pride among other events. The ATL isn’t known for great traffic to begin with, and getting around if you didn’t stay downtown was challenging at times. I’m sure anyone caught in the snarls would have preferred a little better date-planning between the events; along with crowd control and flow those are the areas of improvement needed by the city. Thanks again to Uber I survived.
Now let’s get to the fun stuff. An absolute knock-out job by the hotels which held the events. The DC organization along with the Sheraton’s process for badge pickup was lauded all weekend; most goers who prepaid had little to no wait, and those who paid on site didn’t have much longer. The atmosphere at the Hyatt and Marriott was rocking from start to finish, both had killer DJ’s keeping the fun flowing. Both also have to be applauded for keeping the crowds moving: when you pack that many people in for panels, pictures, cosplay, and drinks it’s not an easy task – but they were helpful, patient, and seemed to enjoy the event as much as the Con’ers. Oh, the Westin and Hilton I guess were there as well!? How about the vendor booths you ask? That was a cluster… Not a very friendly building to hold such traffic, and compounding the entry process was the layout having Ultra Sabers too close to the front.
Panels and celebrity access get an A+. If you want to just celeb watch you could sit in the lower lobby room of the Marriott and they’d walk within 20 feet of you. Sorry to Jeri Ryan’s security, I was totally not going to run and hug her. Although I didn’t partake in celebrity row, everyone I talked to said it was easy enough to get in and get your wanted autographs.
Now for the partying: the amount of outrageously creative cosplay is the highlight of DC. Everything from Redneck Thor with his light up Natty Light Hammer to the movie quality Groot done by HurleyFX, you literally had everyone you could ask for. And as always, these wonderful people of the geek community were graciously patient in the 90+ degree heat to take all the pictures asked. Trust me: the AC did little to cool some of those awesome get-ups down. We’ll call out some of our favorites at the end of the column, but we are sure we couldn’t catch them all. By the way, if you’re thinking about cosplaying next year at DC, bring multiple choices; not every outfit has to be the killer set-up, but you’ll want options if you don’t want to smell like you haven’t showered in a week.
After partying continued with some great Star Wars themed parties after 10pm. Friday night’s Sinatra and Star Wars brought out many Fett’s donned in suits ready for some swing music. The 501 threw Saturday’s Last Dance on Alderaan, and it rocked well past it’s scheduled end into what is way past my bed time.
The Ministers also got the pleasure of hanging out with one of the coolest couples in cosplay, Vixie PoW and Hot Spot Studios, as they rocked some Tom Cruise-inspired cosplay Friday night and Vixie’s epic Aqua Girl on Saturday. Saturday also witnessed crowd favorites, DeadPool (about 50 of them), doing a conga line up and down the three main Marriott floors; not to be out done the “Photo Bomb Crew” made thier way around touring the crowd and getting in some epic selfies. It was really a tossup as to the better venue for watching the cosplay. That aside, the Hyatt killed it with the DJ playing along to the Village People cosplay, the entire, full lobby busting into Queen, and others who wanted to get a little dance on as they moved through the crowd. It was also a good spot for photos as it was less crowed than the Marriott at most points. But with that being said, the Marriott outnumbered some other entire cons combined. They also had the stars you know and follow. All-in-all you couldn’t go wrong. Hope you all enjoy the pictures and product booth recommendations.
Booth/Products we thought were cool enough to call out:
- UD Replicas – Makes some pretty awesome leather superhero suits and motorcycle jackets. If you don’t mind laying down some $$$, check these guys out.
- Arsenal Models – They make kits to produce your favorite movie prop weapons. I spent a few minutes ogling in their both. Their website leaves a little to be desired but I promise their product is sweet. If they’re at a show near you, check them out.
- Mandalorian Mercs – As the 501 is to Storm Troopers the Mercs are to the Fete’s. If you’re into mercenaries you can’t go wrong at least checking out their website.
Some Cosplay Highlights:
Categories: 4 The Con