What better way to relax for Labor Day weekend than to shuffle and bump around gaggles of elves, fairies, and aliens for four days?

Such a plan didn’t hold great interest with me, seeing as how I like to see myself as the average fellow, but Dragon*Con now holds a special place in my heart. And I can’t wait for the same overwhelming, fascinating, even frightening experience next year.

As I sat at the beginning of each panel I visited, struggling to stay awake from the perceived monotony of being crammed into a conference room with fans of a particular show, even I was surprised at how the charisma of characters such as Adam West or James Hong perked up my easily distracted mind, roaring with the crowd as arrows of wit and fascinating tales stirred up great amusement (especially with the voice actor of Space Ghost and current radio station personality George Lowe).

And, of course, there were the armies of convention guests flooding all four hotels, fueled by equal yet powerful elements of fan-boy eagerness, alcohol served at countless wet bars, and the costumes. All were awesome or terrible to behold depending on which body their cloth, leather, and latex components fit about (or lack of, ooh-la-la).

Did I mention there was no lack of in-your-face cleavage?

For every wave of overweight, noisy, terribly rank con-goers (definitely not from Tech mind you, maybe from a certain farm school in Athens), I am grateful that a significant amount of guys/Jedi/Spartans and girls/dolls/catgirls/vampires were both nice to talk to and sometimes even easy on the eyes.

Even while sitting down in the line waiting for the Costume Contest, I had a chance to converse with a steampunk fan all the way from the University of Ohio, finding out that I was only one among many of ‘con-virgins’.

I also had a run-in with a Stargate admirer donned in tactical-wear all the way from Ontario, Canada. So either way, Dragon*Con is quite the venue for people to let their ‘inner’-selves run amuck.

If I had not been dragged to Dragon*Con, it’s safe to say I would have missed out on one of the most debonair, risqué costume parties I have ever been witness to: the Dragon After Dark Costume Contest.

Many of the contestants were given a roaring applause and enormous amounts of catcalls as they strutted their stuff and reveled in the shock value of their performances.

I had the chance to witness an eye-catching ‘Joker-ette’ perform a rather memorable pencil trick, and even got to keep the mentioned instrument as a souvenir.

That being said, anyone with a spark of imagination can find great interest, amusement, and begrudging appreciation of the crazed whirlwind of fandom here in little Atlanta; it makes the annual Tech Night at Six Flags look like your grandmother’s bingo night.