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. FULL POST