Adventures at Dragon Con
The best time I’ve ever had at a convention. That’s actually what Dragon Con was for me.
First, I had a blast at each and every one of the many Conventions I attended this year. I met some amazing writers at Kansas City’s Planet Comicon. At Denver Comic Con, I fell in love with some awesome personalities (not to mention that of Bruce Campbell). And, in Indianapolis, I was welcomed into a cosplay community in which I met some lifelong friends.
I thought it would have been pretty hard to follow up this year’s adventures, but Dragon Con proved, by far, my favorite because I got to spend time with my favorite collection of convention friends and meet everyone I’ve ever wanted to meet in this crazy world of nerds.
Dragon Con used a totally different format from many other large-scale conventions with which most are familiar because it had a convention center dedicated to the event. While I knew, going into my first Dragon Con, the event was spread out over several hotels and venues I had no idea how hard it would be to see everything until I showed up. The only thing more daunting than knowing the sheer size of the Con was trying to make it to all the events..
The show was spread out; Artist Alley was several blocks away from the multi-story vendor’s hall. Entirely separate halls housed most of the celebrities, and people like Patrick Stewart received special rooms unto themselves, complete with hundreds of patrons waiting in lines wrapped around buildings. Panels were smattered everywhere and spread across multiple venues as well. There were also fun places hidden away where you could discover other gaming communities and play with old or new friends. Some of the hotels had the largest lobbies I’ve ever seen and had as many as three levels below ground. As it was, I only made it to a few of the official convention rooms because I was immersed in the onslaught of beautiful costumes all around me. That, and you could turn around and find someone new to meet, or just hang with an old friend.
My most enticing culture shock was seeing that everywhere among these hotels, and I mean everywhere, masses of convention goers spread out in lobbies and streets of every downtown area around Dragon Con. This may sound like a nerdy block party but it seems to have been the greatest controversy of the Convention 2014’s Dragon Con event is turning out mixed reports across the board of too many bullying incidents, instances of horrible parenting, too much groping, and just stupid behavior.
While all of that may be true (I’m personally appalled at the children I saw in the bar scene without any regard for their safety or well-being) these aspects will undoubtedly improve next year. Or, at least, that’s what I’m hoping. The fact of the matter is, these cons are filling up with disproportionate numbers of looky-loos who aren’t all that interested in nerd culture. As nerd culture enters the mainstream, people who aren’t familiar with the community will inevitably offset the typically kind, accepting, and genuine personalities that make up the norm.
In the end, I hope the convention will be proactive next year and consider increased age limits, more badge checks, and overall security – which, in the past, wasn’t as necessary from what I’ve heard. Other than that, it was one of the best times I’ve had. My advice for those going in the future? If you are a parent, do take your kids. But put them in bed and stay in your rooms after the bar scene opens up – heck, maybe even earlier. And definitely do not take your children or send your underage teens if you do not want them around exposed body parts.
If you don’t plan on having little ones, live it up and find people to room with ahead of time! Don’t hesitate to talk to the costumers, and take a ton of pictures! Finally, if there’s anything I regret, it’s not planning which rooms might be the most exciting to hit up. While planning for such an event and meeting so many new people make things a little complicated, I suggest going to as many Convention rooms as early in the day as possible so you can relax and have fun the rest of the time looking at all the overwhelming costume beauty!