Photograph by Matt Walljasper
If you’ve never attended Dragon Con, Atlanta’s annual convention of all things sci-fi, gaming, anime, and general nerdom, you should know one thing: It’s massive, and undertaking all four days of the convention is an incredible, exhausting feat. But as Atlanta newcomers and self-proclaimed geeks, we decided to tackle the entire weekend to see just what these 60,000 mostly costumed fans were flocking to. While roaming the halls, we picked up some interesting stats:
(All numbers are approximated, and costume statistics exclude the parade)
What we did
40 hours spent at the convention over the course of 4 days
8 events attended
3 events turned away from, some after waiting in lengthy lines
1 time almost hit by a taxi while legally crossing the street
100,000 combined steps walked over the course of the convention
1,420 milligrams of caffeine consumed between the two of us
What we saw
15 Hunger Games outfits, including Katniss, Peeta, Effie, Finnick, and Johanna
20 Walking Dead outfits, mostly Rick and Daryl
7 Jesus Christs, which we couldn’t explain, including steampunk and zombie variants
14 Leeloos from The Fifth Element
22 Princess Leias in the gold bikini from Return of the Jedi
10 Fully visible thongs (on both women and men)
14 Ambulances and fire trucks spotted stopped at the hotels
63 Out-of-place football fans, tourists, and non-con-attending locals, including a group of 10 KLM airline crewmembers clearly stranded overnight at the Hyatt
Finally, a few tips we learned from our first Dragon Con:
- The lines are worse than Disney World and often wrap around multiple floors and even outside the building. Be prepared to wait for hours, and know that even if you’re in a line, you might not get into your event.
- Bring your own food unless you want fight the massive Peachtree Center crowds or survive on nothing but pizza stands and ice cream trucks
- Consider staying at one of the convention hotels, even if you’re a local. It’s nice to have a place to get away from the chaos, grab some midday zzz’s, and take advantage of the ongoing nightlife without worrying about having to catch the last MARTA train home.
- Patience is a virtue. The skywalks, lobbies, and sidewalks get extremely crowded, and you will be packed like a sardine while traveling between hotels.