Blog: Dragon Con – Not Just for Anime Lovers but for Everyone

Have you ever wanted to meet people who share a passion for the same fantasy shows you do? Ever wanted to meet a famous voice actor?

The first thought I had when I attended this year’s Dragon Con was “what kind of convention am I getting myself into?” As an avid cosplayer, I wanted to know what kind of costumes I should be wearing, who I should be looking for to hang out with and how much money I needed to put aside for merchandise.

After my research, I found that Dragon Con is a fantasy festival located in Atlanta, Ga., spanning three hotels and, due to its rapid growth, a few panelists have said it will soon encompass four.

It began as a small event, founded in 1987, in the Marriott – however participation has since skyrocketed. The focus of the event is science fiction and fantasy, video games, graphic novels, comics, literature, arts, music and film.

I’ve been asked by many people what makes these gatherings so special to me.

The answer is simple: where else will you get a chance to be surrounded by people who share the same interests you do, meet the actors from those shows you watched as a kid, and see those characters come to life?

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Dragon Con features several celebrity appearances and occurs in Atlanta. (Photo courtesy of UMOPhoto/For The Bloc)

Now don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not selling a timeshare or real estate.

I’m simply going to outline why this venue creates an essential and epic haven for all who raise their hand to fantasy, as well as kick the notion that this event is solely for anime lovers.

At this year’s Dragon Con, there were several guest appearances such as:

Billy Boyd from “Lord of the Rings”

Kristin Bauer van Straten from “True Blood”

Amy Acker from “Angel”

Honestly, the list goes on.

You are able to interact and talk with them one-on-one, take pictures and obtain autographs. I was personally able to shake hands with Boyd, who told me my costume looked awesome, and take a selfie with Kyle Hebert, who shouted Ezreal quotes at me as we took the picture.

My selfie with Boyd.
Peltzer (right) featured in a selfie with Boyd (left).

There are also panels and events that you can attend.

At a discussion I visited for anime and video game voice actors, the panelists cracked jokes and answered questions, sometimes “in character.” Many of the actors will share how they got into the industry and send you away with helpful tips.

Another wonderful addition are the costumes.

If you ever wanted to become your favorite character for a day, now you have the chance. Many people who come to these assemblies dress up in elaborate costumes and are more than willing to take pictures with you and help you create your own outfit.

I personally arrived at the venue as Foxfire Ahri.

Me, featured at DragonCon held in September of this year.
Peltzer, featured in costume at Dragon Con held in September of this year.

There are many opportunities to show off your costume through mass photo shoots, or just walking-throughs to show off your stuff. There are also people walking around who take Dragon Con Cosplay Videos of the costumes and if you’re lucky, you could be featured or show up in the background.

And now onto the best part: the cosplay parade.

This event showcases the best of the best costumes put on display, as parade participants strut through the streets of Atlanta. The Parade is divided into genres such as video games, science fiction and animation.

I have learned throughout the years that these conventions are amazing opportunities to meet new friends, share your love of nerdy things and find awesome merchandise from your favorite off the air shows. The environment is a refreshing place where you can share your fandom with other people from all walks of life, who won’t judge you for being who you are.

Even if it’s just a one time deal, it’s an unmatchable experience.

For more information on next year’s convention, visit http://www.dragoncon.org/.

writersblocheadshots17Kaitlyn Peltzer is a junior English and criminology major and can be reached at kpeltzer@terpmail.umd.edu.

 

 

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