There were a record number of Darth Vaders, Captain Americas and Jokers in and around Atlanta this Labor Day weekend.
That's because Dragon Con attracted a record number of people in 2019. Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, sci-fi and gaming convention attracted a record 85,000 people for the five-day celebration. The convention raised more than $110,000 for its official 2019 charity, American Heart Association’s Georgia affiliate.
“Dragon Con 2019 was another terrific success," convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. "For many of our fans and guests, Dragon Con gave them five days to escape the real world and embrace the things they love with friends from around the world.”
Fans came from around the world and all 50 states, with this year’s convention attracting people from Canada, Mexico, several European countries, and Australia.
Some of this year’s top guests included George Takei, Sulu from the Star Trek franchise, Once Upon a Time’s Lana Parrilla, David Tennant, whose geek credits include Doctor Who, Jessica Jones, and Good Omens, plus Freema Agyeman, Cary Elwes, Lou Ferrigno, Zachary Levi, Ralph Macchio, Catherine Tate, Cress Williams, and pop duo Aly & AJ.
The convention also supported a number of movies and television shows made in Georgia including Stranger Things, Black Lightening, Cobra Kai, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, and The Gifted. Fans also had a chance to talk with creators and professional players from Paladins and SMITE, perhaps the most popular video game to come out of Georgia.
In the Dragon Awards, A Star-Wheeled Sky by Brad R. Torgersen, was the fan’s choice in the Best Science Fiction Novel category. The Dragon Awards are the only fan’s choice award in fandom, with more than 10,000 people casting a ballot this year.
In the months leading up to the 2019 convention, Dragon Con Superheroes community service program, volunteers and fans worked with Piedmont Park Conservancy to mulch the dog park and handle other maintenance tasks, packed some 1500 meals for Open Hand Atlanta, and sorted and packed medical supplies for MedShare. Since 2014, Dragon Con Superheroes have contributed more than 3,500 hours to Atlanta-area non-profits.
LifeSouth, which has organized the convention’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive since 2002, held another successful drive. This year, some 3,600 donors contributed more than 10,000 units of blood and blood products. The annual drive – consistently ranked as the largest convention-based blood drive – benefits LifeSouth, which serves more than 40 hospitals in the Atlanta area and 110 hospitals in the Southeast.
Dragon Con 2020 – the 34th annual convention – will return to downtown Atlanta for the five-day Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 3 to Sept. 7.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.