Dragon Con,

The Covington News - - Front page -

Traf­fic came to a screech­ing halt in down­town At­lanta Satur­day morn­ing as a group of oddly dressed heroes took to the streets. No, this was not a scene from the lat­est “Avengers” movie. In­stead, it was the an­nual Dragon Con cos­tume parade, the pin­na­cle event for the ever pop­u­lar pop cul­ture con­ven­tion.

For the first time, I joined the more than 40,000 other rank and file of ner­dom at­tend­ing the con­fer­ence to ex­pe­ri­ence the phe­nom­ena for my­self. If you are un­fa­mil­iar with Dragon Con, the an­nual event is the largest mul­ti­me­dia, pop­u­lar cul­ture con­ven­tion fo­cus­ing on sci­ence fic­tion and fan­tasy, gam­ing, comics, lit­er­a­ture, art, mu­sic and film in the coun­try. The four-day event of­fers thou­sands of hours of en­ter­tain­ment in the form of pan­els, celebrity au­to­graph sign­ings, mer­chan­dise booths, and ex­pert-led dis­cus­sions.

Hav­ing never at­tended any sort of cul­tural con­ven­tion be­fore, I re­ally had no idea what to ex­pect. Upon pick­ing up my press pass Fri­day, the first thing I no­ticed was the fan­tas­tic hand­made cos­tumes on dis­play in ev­ery cor­ner of the con­ven­tion. Some of them were im­me­di­ately rec­og­niz­able: Bat­man and his col­lec­tion of bad guys and gals; Scooby Doo and the gang; Stromtroop­ers and Jedi ga­lore. See­ing those iconic char­ac­ters in “real life” made me feel like a kid see­ing his dreams come to re­al­ity. But the adult part of me was far more fas­ci­nated by the lesser known steam­punk community.

For those of you who are un­fa­mil­iar, steam­punk is a genre that in­cor­po­rates Vic­to­rian era set­tings and dress and mixes them with a dash of sci­ence fic­tion and boat­loads of sprock­ets, air­ships, and, of course, steam pow­ered ma­chines. The re­sult is a fas­ci­nat­ing blend of pe­riod piece out­fits mar­ried with al­ter­nate ver­sions of present day tech­nolo­gies. Each steam­punk cos­tume I saw was el­e­gantly dif­fer­ent. Each per­son had molded an odd trin­ket here and an aban­don fire ex­tin­guisher there into a unique and wholly im­pres­sive cos- tume.

Of course, not ev­ery­one at the con­ven­tion is re­quired to wear a cos­tume, so don’t let your own lack of artis­tic abil­ity put you off at­tend­ing fu­ture events. I wore only a to­ken cos­tume, while oth­ers in my party chose not to par­take at all. None of us were ever shunned for our lack of cre­ativ­ity. Over­all, the hard­core at­ten­dees were a plea­sure to be around, freely pos­ing for our cam­eras and chat­ting about their cos­tumes.

Any­one who would con­sider them­selves a fan of sci­ence fic­tion, fan­tasy, comics, anime, or gam­ing owes it to them­selves to at­tend Dragon Con at least once. The of­fi­cial en­ter­tain­ment is fun and in­for­ma­tive while the cos­tumes and community will have you feel­ing like a kid again.

Hun­dreds of fans turned out for this year’s Dragon Con parade, and our dig­i­tal me­dia ex­traor­di­nar­ies Tyler Smith and Wil­liam Braw­ley went out to pho­to­graph and film the ac­tion. Check Cov­News. com later this week for more from the an­nual event.

TYLER SMITH WEB­MAS­TER

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