Every Labor Day weekend, pop culture addicts from all over the world flock to downtown Atlanta to immerse themselves in fandom. On the streets around Peachtree and Courtland are thousands of costumed fans, and inside the host hotels are tens of thousands more. They are all here for one unified purpose: to be part of Dragon Con. This weekend, August 29 through September 1, they return for the 28th Annual Dragon Con.
The annual pop culture fan convention is expected to draw in record numbers this year, with more than 62,000 people expected in 2014, according to Dragon Con Media Relations. The largely volunteer-run convention is designed for the fans by the fans, not the industry, which keeps them coming back for more. The convention also supports various charities and hosts a food drive and a blood drive each year, so an increase in attendance could only help the cause.
Arguably one of the biggest draws of Dragon Con is the featured guest list. Actors, authors, artists, directors, make-up and special effects artists representing various forms of media are invited to participate in panels and the Walk of Fame, which gives fans the opportunity for photo-ops and autograph signing. This year, actors from "True Blood", "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" are just a FEW of the featured guests that will be in attendance. Want specifics? How about Cary Elwes, the guy who played Gus Fring on "Breaking Bad", the voice of Goofy, and that gorgeous cylon from Battlestar Galactica? Exactly.
Aside from hours and hours of fan panels available covering everything from Star Trek to cosplay to young adult fiction, there are also hours of other programming available. There are live performances and DJs, including Bella Morte, Cruxshadows, The Ghosts Project, I:Scintilla, Aurelio Voltaire, Weep (Featuring Doc Hammer), DJ Spider, DJ Little Jen and many more. Lips Down on Dixie's annual "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Dragon Con Burlesque: A Glamour Geek Revue" will spice things up at night, and the nightly Dragon Dance rave parties will keep things going until the early morning.
As if all of that wasn't enough to make a fan's head explode, there are even more entertainment options over the three-day weekend at the convention. Dragon Con also offers gaming, workshops, costume contests, vendors, and an art show. Special events such as the Annual Dragon Con Parade and the Dragon Con Night at the Aquarium are just a few other examples of the many different activities available this Labor Day Weekend.
For more information, visit dragoncon.org. You can also follow Dragon Con on Facebook and Twitter. Read about past Dragon Con events and reviews, and subscribe to this column for more about Dragon Con, from an underground point of view.