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Costumes Worn:
Babs Bunny, Tiny Toon Adventures
Queen Frostine, Candyland
VICI the Robot, Small Wonder
Umi Ryuuzaki, Magic Knights Rayearth
Blue Barracuddas, Hidden Temple
Chibiusa Tsukino, Space Senshi
Goddess Nayru, Legend of Zelda
Coco Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot
Convention Photos:









Dragon*Con is one of the largest pop-culture conventions in the world, with four days of events broken up into "tracks" of interest covering everything from science fiction, fantasy, gaming, comics, film, theatre, literature, and art to music, robotics, engineering, space exploration, and paranormal investigation. Held annually over Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, programing includes celebrity panels, autograph sessions, workshops, screenings, concerts, art shows, contests, beauty pageants, a film festival, a parade through downtown, a blood drive, and attempts to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

Convention Overview:
Over 63,000 people arrived in Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2014, smashing previous attendance records and filling the downtown area for a hot and humid Labor Day weekend. Headlining the star-studded guest list was Sir Patrick Stewart from X-Men and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame and Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride. Other notable guests included Karl Urban, Ralph Macchio from The Karate Kid, Kristin Bauer from True Blood, and even John Ratzenberger from Cheers! Popular events included concerts, balls, Night at the Georgia Aquarium, and the parade through downtown on Saturday, which attracted a whopping 75,000 onlookers. Despite the festive atmosphere, Dragon*Con's size really started to push at comfort limits this year, with tightly packed hotel lobbies and food courts. This was exacerbated by the disgustingly hot weather and malfunctioning A/C in the Marriott, which created unbearably steamy and claustrophobic conditions in the Pulse area. Although Dragon*Con generally attracts an older crowd, its reputation as a "party con" has started to bring a contingent of rowdy, younger people who on Saturday night were doing drugs in the Marriott lobby bathroom and threw several beer bottles into to lobby from many stories up, seriously injuring several people with glass shrapnel. Hopefully the convention is able to address these growing problems as its popularity continues to increase. Personally, however, I had a wonderful experience at the convention this year, and it remains, at least for now, an enjoyable event.

Personal Thoughts:
This year we jumped on an early 6AM flight down to Atlanta and had checked our bags, picked up our badges and parade passes without any wait, and had a relaxing breakfast at Caribou Coffee by 10AM! With an entire Thursday to kill, we jumped on the MARTA and rode it a few stops to the Arts Center to visit the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It was a 20 minute walk from the MARTA station to the entrance, but the signage was terrible and it took us another half hour figure out how to enter the exhibits. Once we got in the gardens were amazing; there were gigantic topiaries and art pieces, canopy walks, reflecting pools and frog ponds, blown glass, fountains - they even had an entire building dedicated to orchids! We spent hours roaming, and when we left around 5 they were just setting up bars for their “Cocktails in the Garden” party, which apparently happens every Thursday night in the summer. I’d love to see the place all lit up at night! Back at the hotel we met up with friends for dinner at Metro Café before changing into our Tiny Toon Adventures costumes for the night and hung out in the Atrium sipping drinks - a perfect start to the weekend!

Friday morning, Star Trek: TNG poster in hand, Sketch and I went on a scouting mission for Patrick Stewart’s autograph room. I had all of the TNG cast signatures on my poster except for Stewart and was determined that this year I would get it. We finally found the room, and planned to beeline there after his panel at 1PM. It was only 10:30 so we staked out a spot to “mill about” in the Marriott Atrium before the official line started at noon. So many people were doing the same thing that by 11:30 the con staff, who had tried valiantly to disperse the crowd, gave up and started the line. The panel was fantastic; Sir Patrick was much more on top of things than when I last saw him in 2009, remembering specifics about projects from over 40 years ago. The audience asked very intelligent questions; one was about a specific pause in a line from his stage performance of Macbeth, a nuance which completely thrilled Stewart, another involved stage combat, and another inquired as to the best piece of advice he had received and who had given it to him. The answer was an acting teacher who had said, “You will never achieve true success by insulating yourself from failure.” He was also asked about his ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video and what other worthy causes he advocated for, and about his friendship with Ian McKellan, whom he admitted he was attempting to persuade to attend Dragon*Con. The panel was over too soon and we rushed down to the autograph room where the line was relatively short and we only waited 20 minutes. Sir Patrick was really nice as I unrolled my poster and joked that “I saved the best for last.”

That afternoon we wore our Candyland costumes wth a full cast for the first time! We were mobbed when we met up with our group at the Hyatt, and a little girl dressed as Vaniellope from Wreck It Ralph in a tricked out Sugar Rush car also asked to take her photo with us, which really set the flashbulbs off! Finally we did our own shoot at the columns across the street, which came out great. That evening I got into VICI from Small Wonder while our friends got into their Jem and the Holograms costumes and we met up with the crew at Hooters for our annual “kids’ costumes at Hooters” Friday night dinner. We waited so long for a table that they gave us free appetizers, and then we waited another hour for our food, and when it finally arrived it was only for half of the table. It took us two and a half hours to eat dinner, and they ended up giving us everything for free. It was almost 11PM by the time we got back to the Marriott, which was RIDICULOUS.

Saturday we were up early to bandage and dirty everyone up to march in the parade as Legends of the Hidden Temple! We headed to the staging area, where a small contingent from the Westboro Baptist Church was protesting on the sidewalk. I was carrying the silver monkey from the show and the WBC protester with a megaphone accused me of worshiping idols, because obviously I think a replica prop from a kid's game show my husband carved out of insulation foam is a GOD. Even if I did, WHAT’S IT TO YOU? Get bent. We were a part of the Kaleidoscope Track which is specifically for children’s programming, and we danced around to the marching band ahead of us until the parade started. Every time movement paused, we’d stop and have two people attempt to assemble the silver monkey, screwing it up for as long as possible before finally putting it together as the crowd laughed and cheered. We were a disgusting wet, sweaty mess before we even hit the halfway mark of the route from all the running and jumping around, but we were supposed to look bloody and dirty and disgusting, so it actually just added to our costumes. That afternoon I wore Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, but the Marriott was so crowded and HOT it was oppressive. When we tried to escape for lunch in the LATE afternoon, the food court was still crowded, with tables chalk full of people who were done with their food but inconsiderately taking up space while they played with their phones. Eat and then GTFO! Finally we grabbed a table and I felt much better after eating something. That evening we wore our new Space Senshi costumes and we looked so awesome and glowy! Chinako took some photos of us by the fountain which came out nicely, and we were mobbed at the Marriott. These costumes were fun and we loved spraying people with our bubble guns!

Sunday morning Chinako, EllyStar, and I got into our Zelda Goddesses costumes and met up with Benn Robbins who took some gorgeous photos of us by the columns with the dresses draping over the architecture. We also held up the Triforce in the center of the columns, just as the sun came out making everything glow. So pretty! Sketch took a few more photos of us by the pool at the Sheraton before we changed into regular clothes. We met up with Scarlett who was all aglow from meeting her childhood crush Carey Elwes, and we all went to the dealer’s room to check out the vendors. They had some great stuff as usual, and though the traffic flow was much better this year and there was improved signage, it was still overwhelming. That evening I got into Coco from Crash Bandicoot, and it was awesome to end the weekend with a comfy costume that consisted of sneakers, jeans, and a T-shirt. Lots of people recognized me and shouted “OOGA BOOGA!” at me with huge smiles as I walked past. Later that night we made cocktails and once we were delightfully tipsy we went back to the Atrium to join the main throng. My Ooga Booga mask floated above the crowd, serving as a great location marker when friends were trying to find us. Finally we went to Metro were we sang along to horrible karaoke while eating delicious, delicious cake until almost 3am. This Dragon Con was SO MUCH FUN!