Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dragon*Con 2011

It's a great Saturday morning and I actually award myself by sleeping in until 9:30.  Upon rolling out of bed,  showering, eating a little breakfast,  I realize it is the weekend of Dragon Con and if I want to go to their annual parade,  I must get ready quickly.  The sun is shining outside so the decision to see a parade I have not seen prior is easy.  I post a note on facebook asking if there is anyone going or anyone who would like to join me but after getting ready and 45 minutes with no responses, I decide I must head downtown or be extremely late for the parade.  I should have done the facebook post earlier in the week but really did not want to commit so I guess I will go solo.

What is Dragon Con?  Well it is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe!  People from all over the world converge on Atlanta in the fall to profess their love of fantasy and many dress up in costume while the rest of us come to observe.  There are festivities all week long and on Saturday morning they hold a parade where convention participants can dress in costume and  be a part of the procession showing off their passion and creativity.

I arrive downtown and decide to pay the small fee to park as it is now 10:10 and it starts at 10:00.  A short walk and I am on Peachtree street amongst the thousands of people who have gathered on this beautiful morning.  Some of the observers are in costumes and some are in street clothes like me.  There are a lot of kids amongst the crowd attempting to see their favorite fictional characters come waltzing down the street. When I arrive the parade
has already started and the curbs along Peachtree Street are packed with people and I have a hard time seeing what is going on. I walk about 5 blocks down the street and it is all the same,  completely full of people with their cameras and video recorders.  I am sure all are grateful they arrived earlier and the weather has turned out to be gorgeous. 

Finally I position myself behind some people and begin to observe and enjoy the festivities through the small gap in the crowd.  At this time wishing I would have arrived a little earlier and been in the front row but for this year, behind the crowd will have to do.  I hate when people push their way in when I am front and center so I will refrain from doing this myself and just hang out where I am at enjoying it the best I can.

Parade participation is open to anyone attending the conference and this year around 3,100 people marched in the parade.  Characters like Darth Vader, Storm Troopers, Batman, Superman, Wonder women, Men in Black, were all represented.  Many of them multiple times.  Heck I am sure I saw at least 7 versions of the Ghostbusters and at least 3 Back to the Future time machines.  It is obvious the convention attracts people who enjoy all elements of fiction and not just space like I had previously
envisioned.  Even the Disney Princess were represented in the parade.  Some of the partakers obviously spend some money on their outfits while others just added a little make up to make the flight of imagination come true.
There were several groups of people banded together by common themes.  Obvious to onlookers,  these are organizations which promote the following of fiction and when you could read the banners they touted,  it was easy to tell they were from different cities, proud of their participation.   I wondered at times how much energy it must take to get 10-20 people all dressed in correlating costumes to march on such a grand scale.  But then again they all seem to be having a wonderful time roll playing their particular genre.  Groups of people like Pirates of the Caribbean, Zombieland, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Transformers,  where all represented in small and large groups throughout the morning. 

 The procession is a great opportunity to people watch, and listening to those around me talk about the different characters they saw was enjoyable.  Kids getting excited when they spot their favorite super hero or other fictional character, gamers finding some character they had fought on a video game, or just an older person remembering their younger years represented by a movie character or two.  Often the people around me identified characters like they should be main stream knowledge and I had no idea who they were.  It was truly an enjoyable morning and soon the
final participant was strolling down the street.  It was a float of sorts with death like characters shooting smoke hoops through the morning air.  The shooting of the smoke hoops made loud noises and I was impressed with the creativity of the float even though I had no context of the characters.  This last of the parade passed by and it was time to head home again knowing that I would love to come back and see more of what Dragon Con has to offer.   


Enjoy the rest of my photos! Can you identify all the characters?   

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this event... People Watching is truly amazing...