Pop-Culture Behemoth Dragon Con Marks 30th Anniversary in Atlanta

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

It’s hard to be out in Atlanta during Labor Day weekend without spotting Stormtroopers, Harry Potter lookalikes and thousands of costumed heroes, sci-fi creatures and rabid fans who flock to Dragon Con every year. A record crowd of 77,000 people descended on Downtown and surrounding areas over Labor Day weekend for the 30th annual incarnation of Dragon Con, one of the world’s premier pop-culture conferences and an event that directly contributed $67 million to the Atlanta economy in 2015.

Dragon Con has become an international mecca for science fiction, comics and gaming enthusiasts, and has produced a spectacular display of costuming by its fans that becomes more inventive and stunning with each passing year. The most visible event of Dragon Con, the annual parade, draws more marchers and observers than any other parade in Atlanta. Many of the world’s most celebrated authors, actors and rock n’ roll bands have appeared or performed at Dragon Con.

“Dragon Con is a celebration of everything people love, a place where you can be who you want to be, see old friends and meet new ones,” said Dan Carroll, Dragon Con’s spokesman.

This year’s record-setting attendance represents a nearly 25 percent increase in the last three years and is a far cry from the 1,200 participants who came to the inaugural event in Atlanta. Fans came from around the world and all 50 states, with this year’s convention attracting people from as far away as Japan, New Zealand, and Fiji.  And for the first time, the Dragon Con parade was broadcast live on local television, taking Dragon Con to homes throughout Atlanta who couldn’t make it in person.

“We are welcoming the second generation of fans with more and more families making Dragon Con part of their annual traditions,” added Carroll.

Dragon Con is spread across five host hotels and two Americas Mart buildings, with fans staying at some two dozen more overflow hotels throughout the city. The scope of Dragon Con, and the success it has enjoyed, has been a testament to Atlanta’s ability to smoothly and efficiently host mega-events.