I’m looking through my Twitter and Facebook feeds and all I’m seeing right now is non stop talk about DragonCon which starts today in Atlanta. I know most of you have heard about the San Diego Comic Con, even if you just have some vague interest in entertainment. DragonCon is not as industry prominent like SDCC( which is like the Holy Grail of all cons and is on my bucket list to attend one day.) but it’s still huge and TONS of fun and I’m super jealous of everyone that is going this year. And it made me nostalgic of my trip two years ago.
In August 2012, after much persuasion from a close friend, I made the decision to travel down to Atlanta and go to Dragon Con. This was a big thing for me. Prior to 2011, I had never heard of Dragon Con before. I learned about it that year from a coworker who went down there and after hearing about her excitement over it, I researched it myself. At the time I thought, well that sounds like fun, but I’ll never get to do that myself. And then I met someone who became one of my best friends and who also had gone to Dragon Con and had such a blast and somehow persuaded me to go. Best decision I made. It was also my birthday weekend.
A lot of planning went into making the trip. First off, Atlanta is about a ten hour drive from the DC area. And that’s what we did. Let me tell you, it’s a good thing we’re close and get along extremely well because that is a VERY LONG ROAD TRIP. There’s also a lot of planning of trying to figure out what hotels to get and where. We ended up staying outside of Atlanta in Decatur because we figured we’d just use the hotel for sleep and it was SO much more cheaper than staying IN the city. Yes, it was a bit of a drive but we spent about $70 a night split between 3 people vs at least $400+ per night.
As I’ve talked about before, I decided to cosplay as Katniss. This was before The Hunger Games movie had come out and while there were pictures of Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss from the trailer, it was really more based on what I thought she was in my imagination. I had been nervous about whether people would recognize me and was thrilled that a lot of people did! I met an Effie (who was a guy) that was extremely well done and talked to me in character. And lots of girls wanted their pics with me. Someone even recognized me from the back, based on my braid and quiver. It was fabulous! I ended up wearing my costume two days because it was so much fun. Plus while it’s recognizable, it’s totally wearable and comfortable and doesn’t feel like it’s an actual costume, aside from the box and arrows, which loved carrying around.
I went down there not just to hang out with my friend or even to see celebrities. I wanted to go to as many panels as possible to make the most of my trip. There’s so many different tracks you can go to. Pretty much anything sci fi, fantasy, comics, movies, books, etc. I knew I wanted to go to things that were Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, young adult fiction, British, etc. even though it would mean going on my own and not with my friends. Which was fine because I think it showed that I actually wanted to be there and wasn’t just tagging along. I made up a spreadsheet before I left though I didn’t end up using it because there was SO much to see and do.
Highlights of my trip:
- Went to panel to hear John Rhys Davies, Billy Boyd and Craig Parker talk about Lord of the Rings.
- Got to meet and get autograph of Billy Boyd as my birthday present.
- Went to panel to hear Dean Cain speak
- Went to panel to hear Adam West and Burt Ward speak
- Met Adam West and Burt Ward
- Met Steven Yuen from The Walking Dead (best conversation ever!). We talked about him being Asian but not having been cast in a stereotypical Asian role. Nicest guy ever!
- Went to panel on young adult fiction covers.
- Went to panel on the first Hobbit movie
- Went to panel to hear LeVar Burton speak (BARELY got into that one)
- Saw a burlesque show
- Went to a panel on American Ninja Warrior
- Went to a panel to hear Joss Whedon fans discuss The Avengers
- Watched the parade and saw Stan Lee ride by
- Standing in line for Billy Boyd and saw John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, though we didn’t know who he was at the time) stand up on a table and drop his pants.
I know there’s a ton of stuff I’m missing because I can’t remember it all. Just people watching was also a ton of fun. So many awesome costumes that you can tell people put in lots of time (and money) to create. Basically anything you could ever imagine was there.
I’m really sad that I lost a lot of my pictures when I transferred phones. I don’t even remember everything I had on there because there was so much stuff I had taken pics and I was like, oh I’ll just transfer them later! Nope, never making that mistake again.
(Our costumes, Katniss vs Sub-Zero. Fire vs Ice)
I can’t believe this is seriously all the pictures I personally have from our trip. Though now that I think about it, my friend took a lot of pics that he still has on his camera. Hmm. All I have is my memories, many of them really good ones.
Anyways if you’ve been wanting to go to a con and you can’t make it out to SDCC quite yet, I HIGHLY recommend going to DragonCon. I hope to make it there again one day. Now that I know even more geek stuff since then, it’ll be even better.