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Name: Dragon*Con
Dates: 1987-present
Frequency: annual
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Type: ?
Focus: science fiction and fantasy, comics, gaming, anime, etc.
Founding Date: 1987
URL: http://www.dragoncon.org/
1998 con program cover
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Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the world. This massive media convention is held yearly over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia.


Dragon*Con began in 1987 as an organization of fans who wanted to continue an Atlanta convention after their city hosted WorldCon in 1986. In 1989, it became much bigger with 2,400 members, thanks to hosting Anne McCaffrey. Until 2013[1] the convention maintained a Pern-track called 'Weyrfest'- making it one of the only conventions to do Dragonriders of Pern programming. In 1990 the con doubled in size, having Tom Clancy as guest and also adding the Atlanta Comic Expo to its attractions. Dragon*Con eventually dropped the Expo from its name, but it's still part of the convention.[2] From there, the con kept growing year by year, with the organizers planning for a 15% increase in membership each year. Now it's one of the bigger media conventions in America, frequently mentioned in the same breath as San Diego Comic-Con. Attendance in 2012 was over 52,000.[3]


The largest single section of Dragon*Con programming consists of the fan tracks, each of which has a dedicated room and is organized by a separate team of volunteers. Some tracks are devoted to single shows or franchises, such as the Trek track and the Stargate: Multiverse track. Other tracks cover broader genres, for instance American Sci-Fi Classics or Horror. There are sometimes more specialized tracks with topics that pertain to that year's particular guests. There are also tracks geared towards professionals, including writers, artists, and film-makers. Many of the artist and writer guests are on panels that give advice to budding professionals, and a lot of the artists have hours in the Artist's Alley where they make themselves available to con members. Because of the way the tracks are organized, each track is almost like a mini-convention in itself, with continuous programming from morning to evening.

Another big focus of the convention is gaming. There are organized tournaments for card games, and a huge open gaming area. The convention's Exhibition Hall, where companies display or debut new products, can be heavily skewed toward new gaming products. Several popular games, such as Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering, have given away special Dragon*Con cards, made for and distributed exclusively to con members. The gaming tournaments and panels have grown to the point that gaming now has its own program guide.

1988 Flyer, page 1 announcing Anne McCaffrey as guest. Click to see larger version.
1988 Flyer page 2.

Apart from all the usual fannish attractions, the night life at Dragon*Con is extensive and goes on, quite literally, all night. In the bigger venues, panels start giving way to bands in the evening hours, and there are dozens of room parties of varying sizes every night. The 2013 version of the website states that "We will again offer late-night DJ'd dances Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, beginning after the last concert and lasting until dawn."[4]. There's also all-night filking.[5]


Some Notable Happenings

Beginning in 2002, the convention began to host a yearly parade down Peachtree Street. In recent years--with 1,800 participants in 2011 and 3,000 in 2012--it's grown to become the largest parade in the city of Atlanta.[6]

Fan Memories

Program Books


  1. Fantasy Literature Track, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
  2. Dragon*Con History, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
  3. Dragon*Con History, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
  4. Live Performances and DJs, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
  5. Live Performances and DJs, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
  6. Dragon*Con History, (Accessed September 30, 2013).
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