Atlanta (CNN) - Angie Dowling attended her first Dragon*Con with her father when she was 5 years old. Now, more than 20 years later, she’s the parent squeezing her children through the crowds to secure a prime viewing spot for the parade of science-fiction and fantasy characters.
“Getting to experience the parade with them is even more incredible because they’re looking at it through fresh eyes with that youthful excitement,” said the 29-year-old English teacher from Marietta, Georgia. “They absolutely love it. They give themselves over completely to the experience.”
From Chewbacca and the Hunger Games to quarians and steampunk dogs, there was something for nearly every fandom on Saturday at Atlanta’s annual Dragon*Con parade, one of the most kid-friendly events of the year’s biggest fan convention in the southeastern United States. About 14,000 spectators attended last year’s parade, and organizers expect that number to grow this year.
Regarded among many as a more fan-oriented alternative to San Diego Comic-Con, Dragon*Con has grown since its inception in 1987, taking over more of downtown Atlanta each year as organizers add panels to accommodate growing interest in all things fan-related. While Dragon*Con’s panels and parties attract fans of television, film, video game and comic-inspired subcultures from all over the country, the parade is open to the public free of charge, drawing families from all around metro Atlanta who wouldn’t necessarily identify as nerds or pony up for weekend passes that run as high as $140.
Dave and Kristen Lee arrived around 9 a.m., one hour before the parade’s start, to set up blankets and folding chairs on Peachtree Street with their sons and other families from Decatur, Georgia.
“This isn’t really my thing,” said Lee, whose two sons were dressed up as Jedi knights in brown shirts with cords tied around their waists. “But the kids love watching all the superheroes and Star Wars figures.”
For others, however, Dragon*Con is their “nerdy gras,” something they look forward to all year, for which they spend days, if not weeks or months planning costumes and itineraries. Having learned from five years' experience, Jason McMinn claimed his spot on the parade route at 7:15 a.m.
McMinn lives just 20 miles outside of Atlanta, but he and his wife are staying at a hotel near the convention for the weekend. “It’s more convenient to stay in town, especially for getting to the parade,” he said.
His friend, Barbara Martin, also had a few pro tips for viewing the parade: Bring a chair to sit on, water for staying hydrated and tennis shoes for comfort.
Costumes are the main obsession for most attendees of the convention and the parade, even if they’re not marching in it. Five years ago it was the costume that drew Dowling to her future husband at Dragon*Con in a common convention hook-up scenario. On Friday night, they revisited the karaoke bar in the Hilton Hotel where they met.
“He was dressed as Yuri from 'Shadow Hearts,'” she said. “He was really cute.”
This year, Dowling was more focused on participating in panels. She sought the aid of her mother, Pattie, in creating costumes for her children, who went to the parade dressed as characters from “The Avengers.” Mark, 8, was especially proud of the studded wrist guards for his Hawkeye costume while it took Patricia, 6, two washes to get her hair the right shade of red for her Black Widow costume.
Dowling has seen the parade swell over the years as sci-fi and fantasy have evolved from geeky obsessions into fixtures of mainstream pop culture. When Dowling first attended with her father, Marvel artist Mark Bagley, the convention was a much smaller affair, she said. Over the years she has seen attendance swell as participants expand to new themes such as steampunk, Doctor Who and all things Joss Whedon.
“All these new branches have sprouted and they bring in new groups of cosplayers [costume players], so now it’s this amazing conveyor-belt sampler platter of all thing geeky and good,” she said. “If you want to know what Dragon*Con is about, watch the parade and you will see all those elements represented.”
Characters represented in the parade also tend to reflect pop culture trends, said parade spectator Karl Justice of Johnson City, Tennessee. This year marked his eighth season attending Dragon*Con.
“Slytherin is dominating. It used to be Gryffindor,” he said of costumes inspired by the Harry Potter series in a tone equal parts sportscaster and cultural critic.
Other shifts included a resurgence of interest in “Ghostbusters” (possibly due to recent news that a new film version will go ahead without Bill Murray, he said), and the decline of “Battlestar Galactica” and “GI Joe.” “Game of Thrones” is getting bigger, he also noted as a contingent of battle-weary soldiers of Westeros made its way through the street.
“Where else can you find something like this?” he said. “It’s a unique vacation.”
Does anyone know if there exists individual photos of each costume for the periodic table of elements??
Yes Gygax was at the first Gencon, but he and his company didn't take over running it till the 80ds. I can remember my first Gencon when everyone was bemoaning TSR's complete takeover of the convention and how much better it was before they took over. The same thing I've hard every time someone new takes over running a con. The worst run con I have ever been too was the First Gen Con Indy, it was a nightmare. Four hour wait to get my badge followed by a five hour wait to get my event tickets and I was there the day before it started. On top of that, most of the downtown restaurants ran out of food before midnight Saturday. I remember having to drive outside the downtown Indy area to get breakfast Sunday morning.
It is a proud and lonely thing to be a stainless steel rat.
I would love to go to DragonCon but the article doesn't mention that one of the founders who still receives dividends is Ed Kramer, a child molester who has managed to manipulate the system for over a decade now and may never go to jail for his crimes.
As you know, the charges against him are almost certainly bogus. No reason to bring them up unless you have a personal feud with him.
This Uhura= N.I.L.F (Nerd I'd like to....yeah you know)
Posted on It wont help to spend money we dont have to protect jobs that Obama wants to save. There comes a time we have to bite the belult and protect the borders even if it is on a volunter basis and with the borders so compromised now we need real belults in real guns to stop the infiltration rather than cede land to Mexico because the creep will continue until it hits middle America, if it hasnt already. Our Country should be sovereign and English speaking, undiluted and free from outside influence from the White House.
Time to get crackin' on my Warhammer 40k Terminator costume...
Posted on It pains me to read this, as well as to re-live the pain I felt. Looks like we were running near each other on the crsoue, since I finished at 3:58.51. I agree that its tough to make up for a lack of training, as I got the flu in March and missed two-three weeks of the hardest part of my would-be training. Those 20 miles are what makes the distance doable, no matter how it stacks up. I crashed at mile 21, too, no matter how many Gus I stuffed down my face. Check out my blog for an experiment in under-training.
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What a weird future. Here's a robot commenting along with all the humans . . .
If anyone knows the whereabouts of the cowgirl from friday afternoon message me. 630-867-5309.
I used to love to go to DragonCon, even back when it was the Atlanta Fantasy Fair. But the last time I went, about 10 years ago, it had become such an isolated, adult con it was embarrassing. I was with a friend with two young children and I felt I had taken them to a strip club. Never again – if Dragoncon wants to be adults only, that is certainly their right. They just don't need real comic book fans.
So gencon has been around for 45 years, attracts 40K attendees and was founded by gary gygax – and you guys cover this?!? The most family friendly thing in the world is a board game...and all nerd genres attend to play them.
Gencon is awesome but it is mostly gaming. Dragon*Con is EVERYTHING!.....and they have a huge gaming area as well. Dragon*Con is the most "complete" convention that there is, even including more categories than the massive San Diego Comic Con. Plus, the Dragon*Con Parade happens literally 2 streets over from the CNN headquarters. Tons of CNN employees attend Dragon*Con every year.
Jesse Pinkman??? yeah, right.
I used to attend Dragon*Con. Now I go to gencon. Let the press have Dragon*Con. Everyone reading this, go to dragon con, stay away from gencon. Gencon only had two big name media guests this year, and has much less constume activity. You don't want to go to our convention. All we have is games.
When a convention pushes for publicity and growth, and tries to adapt to what they think newcomers want, they lose the foundation and become a big mess. Dragon$Con has their target audience and serves them well. Gencon has it's target audience and serves them well too.
That said, it sure would be nice if DC wasn't always trying to step on other conventions toes, steal vendors and volounteers from everyone else.
Gencon predates Gary Gygax & TSR games by more then 10 years. I may not be old enough to remember GenCon before Gygax, I have friends that do. I do remember GenCon before it moved to Indianapolis when, 10K people was capacity and you never spent more then a few minutes in line to get tickets for most events Today I just buy generics, but still get into everything I want to...
No, GenCon predates D&D barely, but Gygax was one of originals in 1968.
You people who complain need to remember that people are killed over football and basketball games all the time. Get back to me with your whining when Dr Who fans start rioting and burning sports bars after a good episode.
This is the win comment right here ^
I have attended Dragon*Con Parade for the last 5 years. This was the first year I had admission to the other events....I went to a voice actor panel, I discussed skepticism, met wonderful artists and a few cutie actors, with their mean agents. LOL It was seeing the otherside of the con for me. I even had lunch with the elven Archer in the photo...now how cool is that connection. There are levels of Nerdom....or Geekdom. I will proudly wear my geek armor...lol as i squealed in delight at the battalion of Master Chiefs, even a pink one. What a weekend to have a little fun. Next year I join the cosplay.....now to decide what or whom
Took my wife and kids to there first Dragon*Con parade!! Awsome!! Saw Dean Cain, Stan Lee and Lou Ferigno.. a battalion of Marvel characters, a squadron of DC characters and legion of Storm Troopers.
There. Their. They're.
Learn it. Live it. Love it.
I only went to se the parade. It was awesome. My favorite were the scientists dressed as the Periodic Table Of Elememts.
We aren't all scientists but we do love science.
I think it's nifty.
It's okay to be a little nerdy Joe. Try it sometime; you might like it. :P
It's a quote from 'Revenge of the Nerds.'
Nerd? I prefer IntelictualBadAss.
Then please spell it correctly. Just copy it from your T-Shirt. :)
But seriously, after 19 years, Dragon*Con has only gotten better for me. I have learned to pace myself, avoid exhuastion, and emmmencely enjoy the few panels I attend, reduced by the incidence of fun and joy in being with like minded, interesting, above average intellects (2 Ls). Fandom roks and Dragon*Con fans are the very best.
But the Whovians should riot once in a while. We do get some very good episodes. We could zap everyone who passes with our replica sonic screwdrivers!
Op de openingsdag is het aaobnd nog niet bepaald een grande spectacle'. Marktplaats biedt meer en beter. Afwachten maar hoe dit zich gaat ontwikkelen
This is too cool
Uhura is sporting a six pack.
if you're talking about the black star wars lady, shes hot
Dude...Uhra is Star Trek...
So sad to see this , this is where the country is heading ? ...twisted things are being glorified? Saaad
Better to glorify this than glorify war or politics or religion. Besides, this is just fantasy and make-believe. Don't you have an imagination or were you one of those that didn't have a creative mind when growing up?
I agree Raz. I would be more worried about the NRA convention. Way more harmful than a bunch of people playing pretend.
Why is this sad to see? Its what these people like. What is sad, is to hear someone like you try to marginalize people for their interests....now thats sad.
Hey Marty, you must live a very dull and boring life. Why don't you crawl back under your rock and leave having fun to people who want to enjoy their life.
Hey look, the fugitive comes out of hiding.
What's just as sad is those here who defend this childish nonsense. I guess some people never grow up, and some who do have no more depth of thought than that of a child.
Seems like the new fad is shallow and muddy thinking. I'm sure I'll get a good whippin' for speaking my mind and not being one of the fad followers.
No...why would we want to give you a whippin' – you're already doing a great job.
I find this a lot better for kids and adults than poorly done reality tv shows. Dragon*Con is positive and keeps people away from drama. The people attending this are a lot happier with their lives compared to the average person.
The people that attend Dragon*con are people that are full of life and enjoy Sci Fi, Fantasy, Horror, Artwork, Films, Photography, Costuming, Music, Books, Comics, Gaming, etc.... TJ must lead a boring generic lifestyle with his boring dull friends who do the same boring and dull things with their sad little lives like Marty. If you are a dull and generic person and want to hate on the creative types then you must be a jealous hater. Why are you even here looking at these photos if you are just here to troll and hate? TJ and Marty, jealous much? Go hate somewhere else you jealous trolls. Go be a scrooge somewhere else because you are not welcome here.
Most of the people at Dragon*Con are very grown up. Most of the childish things you are referring to have very deep and adult messages behind them that we could all learn from. And there is nothing wrong with going and having fun for a weekend like this as opposed to going and getting drunk every weekend because you hate your life. Although I know of people who get drunk on mead while at the Con...But you understand what I'm saying.
Whatever YOU'RE hobby is – fishing, NASCAR, watching sports – someone somewhere things it is a boring waste of time and money.
What you are really showing is that you are so self-centered, you thing you're leisure activities are worthwhile and other peoples' are dumb.
That is what is really wrong with this world and pathetically sad is self centered people like you that think their way of life is the correct one and anyone that likes things different shouldn't be enjoying things that you don't enjoy.
Then ignore it and go about your business. No need to annoy other people who do like it.
As Fluorine in the Periodic Table of the Elements I'll tell you, there was nothing better than dressing up like the tooth fairy (fluoride), marching down the road, and seeing kids excited about science (SCIENCE!); if doing a few childish things engenders curiosity and a love of learning in one boy or girl, then I'll do them.
And let's see, what else did I do at con? Oh that's right, I got to chat with muppeteers about what it was like to work on Broadway (Avenue Q) and do TV with Jim Henson, listen to LeVar Burton talk about the future of reading rainbow and children's education, discuss skepticism and the scientific method with James Randi, and rock out with Alice Cooper. Sorry you couldn't be there.
Fad followers? I think people that devote their time to things like watching football or seeing how many beers they can drink are the real sheep .
I'm pretty sure we could find a couple people at Dragon*Con who could give you a good "whippin".
If you leaned that way.
You must be great at parties.
“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
I don't know about you, TJ but I LOVE Childish nonsense!! One can still be mature, and be like a kid at the same time.
What is truly sad is that there are people out there not recognizing the depth of thought, the miracle of ideas generated by Dragon*Con. The follow up to our convention was the Southern Bible Convention or some such. Now THAT was a waste of time and energy. No new ideas, only a rehash of very old and irrelevant ones.
But this "glorifies" science and imagination. It is harmless fun and all adherents know this. I see the periodic table on display. Ask most of the Sunday afternoon football crowd what the periodic table of elements is and all you'll get is a blank stare. This is a positive move in a healthy direction. Get your geek on!
Must be a creationist....
Speaking of fantasy and imagination.....
BTW, religion's pretty twisted too, especially if you take the stories literally like so many fundies do (of all religions, not just picking on the Christians here)
Marty frequents strip clubs.
awww come on-people need this kind of thing to forget about all the bad, negative things going on--they are few and far between-there should be more positive things for people to focus on, have fun with, get your family involved-just all positive!!!! you should try it-make you feel better!
"Heading" ?? Dude, this convention is 25 years old. Kind of late to be the start of something.
And there are conventions of this type that are older (albeit, it's one of the largest).
Just goes to show that people will always comment on stuff they have no knowledge of.
Gencon is 45 years old and similar in size to D*C
Comic Con is 43 years old and is bigger than D* and GenCon put together
World Con is 73 years old, but was not held during some years of WWII. Not quite as big, but people come from around the world, and it's got a lot of years.
Arisia is 22 years old, and Boskone is 48 years old, both held in boston.
I could go on and on, but the point is, these conventions are not a fad.
Marty, you are on the wrong article. This isn't about the RNC convention.
The boyfriend went this year and I had to stay home due to work. So sad! He's been posting pics on FB and it looks like so much fun!
Where is the Klingon room party this year?
Damn. We didn't know there would be a Klingon room party. KRAD would have wanted to attend.
We did make Garrett Wang's Star Trek party at the Sheraton for a while.
You do realize that "A, Zombie" is not a presidental campaign hoax, instead of refering to dish! network not carrying AMC's "The Walking Dead" series.
it stinks that the DISH network wont carry this TV show!!!! they are making a big mistake--they will probably lose alot of customers -this is one of the best shows on TV/cable these days! I have DISH and i am NOT happy!
Romney is A. Zombie.
No parade but about 4,000 of us are loving Kumoricon up here in Vancouver Washington this weekend. Three days of anime, cosplay and more!
Yeah, I gotta agree. Some great ideas there, if you go back to Cordwainer Smith and his 'underpeople,' but the fetish element is a squick to many. They have their own con somewhere, which would be no place to suddenly stumble into after a night of drinking("Giant skunks! Dear lord, help me!").
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em I always say.
These nerds are probably your boss.
Neeerrrrdsss huh? You Obviously didn't see Jessica rabbit at the CON !! Well, I DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG!! Nerds RULE!
This isn't exactly insulting to me...
Cripes, didn't any of you nerds ever see 'Revenge of the Nerds?' Have you even tasted my beer?
Hi Henk,Thanks for the remarks and oeninpg up concurrence! I was not able to find any known license on the concurrence website or the repo. I only found this on Github. As I am not that versed in the license-business I just named it Hyves to be sure. But since you say it is supposed to be MIT, i will update the matrix. Btw, this matrix does have a column ‘test’. But I agree that this doesn’t really say much.Benchmarking a lot of different frameworks is hard and i cut some corners here and there. Monitoring memory usage is one of them, maybe i’ll do this in the upcoming cross-language benchmark.
The family and I made it to Dragon Con. After years of co workers jumping up and down about it, we too enjoyed the fun of the parade. Diversity is soo fun!
WJere are the Masters of The Universe cosplayers??? :(
Pic 5: Mirror Universe Uhura = Hell Yeah!
That woman was ROCKIN the 'evil Uhura' look.
Beam me up to her room.
Congrats dear lady....whoever you are.
I was impressed with the Guinan outfit in the background. It's hard to tell, but it looks like she even shaved her eyebrows too.
That was me! I didn't shave my eyebrows, but I was able to cover them up well enough that from a few feet away, it looks like I don't have any.
This Uhura = a dude.
Wow...You must be blind...Why is it if a woman has muscles she automatically a "dude". If you look at the parade she's in she is clearly NOT a dude. Look at her in the parade here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoTIEILYK9k @ 5:53. Clearly you are just mad that the only six pack you'll see will be labeled "Bud and Weiser"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoTIEILYK9k She's at 5:38 people sorry. Tom Tom's just an Ass
Trish, Tom ain't one of 'those guys.' He probably DID think she was a dude who looked like a lady.
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