Dragon*Con provides outlet for fantasy

Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media convention in the US; the convention focuses on gaming, literature, science fiction and comics. The convention was held Sept. 4-7 and is in its 23 year.

The convention is so large that it takes up four Downtown Atlanta hotels. The Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and Sheraton hosted the conference and also provided shelter for many of the attendants throughout the Labor day weekend. Most of the other hotels in and around downtown Atlanta were also booked becasue of the convention.

Dragon*Con boasts a wide array of guests, from blog writers to sci-fi icons, the convention has something for almost everyone and attracts tens of thousands of guests every year. The convention draws many notable stars such William Shatner, whose fame as Captain Kirk has made him a household name, and Patrick Stewart, widely known for his work on Star-Trek and X-Men.

To a newcomer, Dragon*Con is overwhelming, sprawling across the Centennial Olympic Park area of downtown. This year, just about every single hotel and overflow hotel associated with Dragon*Con was entirely booked up. One website suggests to newcomers to the convention to reserve a hotel room right now if they want to garauntee themselves a room come Sept. 2010.

Milling about in the massive hotel spaces designated for Dragon*Con were over 30, 000 comic, game, manga, anime and fantasy aficionados drawn to the convention by various lures. These devotees come from all around the world and all different walks of life. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, that many of these fans are Tech students.

There is also a great deal of shopping that can be done at the convention where rare items can be purchased. The dealer’s room is full of tables where the die-hard geek can buy collectibles and art to their heart’s content. Basically, it’s a nerd’s paradise.

“I’ve been three times, maybe two times before. I’m looking forward to meeting the cast of Star Trek. William Shatner’s actually not going to be here today (Saturday), but Leonard Nimoy and Patrick Stewart are who I’m really excited about,” said Emily Simonds, a first-year ME major.Simonds also looked forward to browsing and buying in the convention’s expansive dealer’s room.

“I always like the dealer’s room. It’s nice, because you can buy stuff that you normally can’t buy in the mainstream,” said Simons.

The dealer’s room advertises itself as a supply room full of items you an’t buy in the mainstream, meaning “one of the largest assortments of original crafts, medieval arms and artifacts… Japanese Animation merchandise and hardback and paperback books to be found in the world,” as boasted of on Dragon*Con’s website (www.dragoncon.org). From comic books to corsets and customizable spandex leggings and headpeices, you can find it in the dealers’ rooms, where a ridiculous amount of cash is shelled out each year to suplement the near-mandatory costumes seen at fantasy conventions each year.

One look at the attendants at Dragon*Con and someone not familiar with the convention would assume that Halloween had come early this year. The fantastic-looking wardrobes and acsesories, often complete with replica weapons or spacecraft, are another huge element of Dragon*Con called “cosplaying.”

Cosplaying is an often elaborate display in which fans dress as their favorite characters from just about any show, movie, book, or comic. Cosplayers often spend massive amounts of time designing, sewing and creating their own outfits, or for those without the creative bug, there are always the dealer’s rooms where sometimes, they just buy one. Either way, Dragon*Con is filled out with an epic number of alter-egos from every imaginable fantasy, anime or science-fiction story-line.

“I’ve always liked sci-fi, basically I’m big Dune fan as you can note from the costume. Also, we went last night and it was freaking awesome. This is my first time,” said Liam Holland , first-year ME.

“I’m excited about Stargate and Leonard Nimoy,” said Collin Strassburger, first-year AE.

“I’m looking forward most to commenting on other people’s costumes.” said Strassburger. He, like Holland, was cosplaying this year.

“I’m dressed up as Rorshach, from Watchmen — the movie, not the comic books,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Stargate, Star Trek, Star Wars, you can get the idea,” said Strassburger.

Other Dragon*Con participants enjoyed the music artists that the convention brings to Atlanta and the riotous after-event parties held for convention attendees at clubs and hotels throughout the city.

When asked what his favorite part about the convention was Marcus Taylor, third-year EE, said, “For me it was the concerts and parties. There were a lot of good artists there.”

Where “geekiness” has no limits, Dragon*Con is sure to entertain.