Crowds gather in Atlanta to ‘geek’ out for Dragon*Con

Long gone are the days when being a “geek” came with a lot of social stigma and a little bit of “Revenge of the Nerds” style taunting. Being a pop culture fanatic is now more mainstream than ever, and an average of 46,000 convention attendees have the gathering to prove it.

Dragon*Con 2012 was the 26th year for the massive multimedia and pop culture fan convention. Descending upon downtown Atlanta, Ga. yearly over the four days of Labor Day weekend, Dragon*Con features over 3,500 hours of programming, hundreds of media guests, dealers, exhibition halls, a Saturday morning costume parade, and much more.

“Me and my husband enjoy science fiction and fantasy. It’s nice that being a nerd is becoming more acceptable and open,” said attendee Liza Hebert, dressed as a character from the popular HBO show “Game of Thrones.” She was attending the convention for the sixth year in a row.

Spread across five of the major hotels in downtown Atlanta, the Marriott Marquis, the Atlanta Hilton, the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza, the convention continues to grow yearly. Attendance in 2012 was expected to be upwards of 50,000 attendees.

According to Lt. Dan Rasmussen of the Atlanta Police Department, “This convention is a win for the city. This convention serves little to no problematic issues to the city, and that’s not true for all events. This is a win, it really is.”

Not only does Dragon*Con serve as a special gathering place for fans to feel the spirit and camaraderie of the love of pop culture, but it does its part in giving back to the community as well. In 2011, the annual Dragon*Con Blood Drive registered 3,449 people and drew 2,938 donors.

And Dragon*Con certainly prides itself on being fan focused. Its panel subjects range from comics and art, to science fiction and science fact, to space and alternate history. In addition to thousands of hours of panels, workshops, and programming, Dragon*Con goes extracurricular after dark with live performances, DJ hosted dances, and themed parties.

“I love it, it’s the greatest,” said actor guest Gil Gerard, star of the late 70s classic, “Buck Rodgers in the 25th century.”

“I’ve done it several years in a row and I’ll keep doing it. I consider it my convention,” said Gerard.

Not only do the fans attend, but they also form the very workforce that keeps the convention running smoothly. Dragon*Con is staffed by an average of 1,800 volunteers.

Stay connected to the Dragon*Con official website, http://dragoncon.org/, for news and updates on the 2013 convention and pre-registration announcements.

Dragon*Con occurs yearly over Labor Day weekend in downtown Atlanta, Ga.