Dragon Con celebrates 26 years of presenting a showcase and gathering spot for the nerds of the nation to don their many customs and rub elbows with the folks that have what it takes for a Dragon Con-like world. The fans and attendees of Dragon Con wonder if the organizers and the massive group of volunteer staff can keep this environment family friendly as the attendance swells into grand proportions at this yearly Atlanta convention, according to CNN on Aug. 31. This convention started as a small meeting of comic book lovers by co-founders Pat Henry and Ed Kramer back in 1986.
Behind the scenes management and volunteer staff embark on mounting problems and adding to the stress is the allegations of child molestation against the co-founder of Dragon Con, Ed Kramer, which taints the event in some outsiders minds. Kramer was considered a cornerstone for the Dragon Con event, along with Henry. The two men got together 26 years ago, along with science fiction and fantasy fans to put on a convention where science fiction fans, gamers and comic book readers can reveal their true obsessions.
Henry said they set out to find one hotel that would host this crowd and “keep Mr. Normal out there.” The first Dragon Con was attended by 1,400 guests, which was a “healthy start” said Henry. By 1998 Dragon Con had its own place on the annual convention calendar of Atlanta.
One of the Dragon Con fixtures is the club of stormtroopers, the 501st Squad, which has over 10,000 members worldwide in 48 countries. The members, who all dress as the Star Wars storm troopers, use their powers for raising money for charity and volunteer groups.
It was in 2000 when the co-founder Kramer was arrested and charged with four counts of child molestation. Henry supported his friend believing that he was not-guilty, which is the plea he offered up to the court during his arraignment. Kramer resigned as CEO and Henry took the position for his co-founder. As the years went by Henry realized that he was “sucked in,” believing Kramer's excuses. Kramer's mounting legal troubles took him out of any future endeavors with Dragon Con.
The Dragon Con Parade was born in 2002. In 2012 the parade had up near 80,000 people take to the streets to get a gander at their favorite characters and 52,000 tickets were sold last year to the convention. This year they are expecting to beat last years numbers. Henry said up until 9 p.m. it is a family affair, but after 9 p.m. it is definitely an adult convention.