Dragon Con, the internationally known science fiction, fantasy, and gaming convention, returns to downtown Atlanta for Labor Day weekend, bringing with it some 60,000 pop culture fans.
Dragon Con 2022 runs from Thursday, Sept. 1 to Monday, Sept. 5 with events and activities across five host hotels – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Westin Peachtree, and Sheraton Atlanta – and AmericasMart Buildings Two and Three.
Dragon Con attracts fans from all 50 states and several foreign countries who come to Dragon Con to meet their favorite actors, artists, authors, creators, and experts, show off their latest cosplay, make new friends, and revel in the joy that is Dragon Con.
Guests – Two members of the original Star Trek television series, William Shatner and Walter Koenig, lead a long list of celebrity guests who will appear at this year’s convention. Joining them are Emmy-nominated actor Morena Baccarin; Once Upon a Time’s Jennifer Morrison; Lauren Ridloff, Tony-nominated deaf actress from Marvel’s Eternals; and David Ramsey and Emily Bett Rickards at the head of a long list of actors representing the Arrowverse.
Other top guests from television and movies include Charmed’s Holly Marie Combs; Stargate Atlantis’ Joe Flanigan and Rachel Luttrell; Encanto’s Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, and Adassa; and The Boys’ Laz Alonso, Nathan Mitchell, and Tomer Capone; as well as voice actors Kaitlyn Robrock (Disney’s Minnie Mouse), Jim Cummings (Disney’s Winnie the Pooh), and Nolan North (Superman).
Joining Shatner and Koenig, Star Trek fans will have a chance to meet Anson Mount, Anthony Rapp, Michelle Hurd, and many other cast members from the latest installments of the beloved franchise, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
Fans will also recognize guests from Georgia-filmed productions including Doom Patrol (Joivan Wade, Matthew Zuk, Riley Shanahan, and Mark Sheppard); Stargirl (Brec Bassinger, Yvette Monreal, Trae Romano, and Anjelika Washington), The Walking Dead (Chad Coleman, Laurie Holden, Katelyn Nacon, and Chandler Riggs), and Fear The Walking Dead (Lennie James and Danay Garcia).
For the MTV Generation, Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson from the cult classic movie, Flash Gordon, will be on hand. Jones played star quarterback Flash Gordon while Anderson played ally Dale Arden who helped save planet Earth from the wicked Ming the Merciless.
Cosplay – Dragon Con is well known for the quality of its cosplay – or costume play – and that tradition will certainly continue. The nation’s top cosplayers will show off their best work during the show, participating in costume contests every night of the convention and promenading throughout the five host hotels and the streets of downtown Atlanta.
Cosplay competitions remain a mainstay of Dragon Con, including the queen of competitions, Dragon Con Masquerade, the oldest continuously-run competition in fandom, the craftsmanship-focused Friday Night Costume Contest, and the low-key and fan-voted Hallway Costume Contest.
Gaming – New this year, Dragon Con is moving a large part of its ‘round the clock gaming programming one block up and one block over, from AmericasMart Building One to Building Three.
While the move was necessary because of renovations to Building One, the new space is better laid out and quite roomy – offering nearly three acres of games and gaming, from the latest and most popular video games to rarely seen board games.
The popular Artemis Bridge Game, in which eight players man the bridge of a USS Enterprise-like starship through its galactic adventures, is also expanding. First offered in 2016, the Artemis will now have two dedicated installations to allow cooperation or head-to-head competition.
Joystick Gamebar will once again offer a pop-up experience at 161 Peachtree Center, featuring dozens of classic American arcade games. No need for quarters, these games will be free to play for the full convention.
Overall, Dragon Con is one of the largest gaming conventions in the nation. From the latest video games to the most popular tabletop games, plus Japanese and classic American arcade games, ‘round the clock gaming is free to Dragon Con members starting Thursday, Sept. 1 at 4 pm.
Parade – The always popular Dragon Con Parade steps off on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 10 am. After a year in which only badged Dragon Con members could attend, the parade is once again free and open to the public.
The parade route remains the same as in past years. Beginning at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Linden Avenue, the parade will head south on Peachtree, east (left) on Andrew Young International Boulevard and north (left) on Peachtree Center Avenue. It will end on Peachtree Center Avenue between John Portman Boulevard and Baker Street, in front of the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.
The route is convenient to three MARTA stations – North Avenue, Civic Center, and Peachtree Center. Parking downtown is expected to be tight. Dragon Con encourages parade spectators to ride MARTA.
There are a number of live streaming options. DCTV will broadcast the parade live on a closed circuit to the convention’s host hotels, with rebroadcasts throughout the weekend. Parade coverage will also be available through the Dragon Con Goes Virtual streaming app.
Official Charity – Open Hand Atlanta is Dragon Con’s official charity for 2022. Through auctions and other charity events, plus a dollar-for-dollar match up to $100,000 from Dragon Con, the convention will raise money to support this important organization.
Since 2013, the convention has consistently raised more than $100,000 for each of its annual official charities. In 2021, Dragon raised more than $140,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.
Open Hand’s mission is to help underserved individuals prevent or better manage chronic disease through tailored nutrition interventions, which include a variety of therapeutic meal plans as well as nutrition counseling and coaching delivered by an experienced team of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. With the dedicated support of over 14,000 volunteers, they currently prepare, pack, and deliver over 5,500 meals per day in Metro Atlanta and rural Georgia.
In addition to fundraising, Dragon Con conducts the largest convention-based blood drive in the nation. In 2021, some 3,000 fans donated more than 6,000 units of blood and blood products in the annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive, benefiting LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospitals in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.
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