• Dragon Con, football and pride: Thousands gather in Atlanta

    By: Steve Gehlbach

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - Pop culture, football and pride. One of the metro’s busiest weekends kicked off Saturday morning.

    Tens of thousands of people are expected for each event in the Atlanta area.

    Here are the top events going on in the city this weekend: 

    First big game inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium

    Alabama defeated Florida State 24-7 in the first college football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

    The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game marked the first-ever opening matchup of preseason top-3 teams since the Associated Press started selecting them in 1950. 

    Thousands of college football fans gave the new stadium its first true test before the Falcons opener. 

    "Just look at this place. It's absolutely incredible," said Florida State fan Joseph Ginis. 

    Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he was excited about the atmosphere at the game. 

    "To have the opportunity to open it up to the full crowd and the opportunity for me to walk around and see the way we're handling the crowd in the building tonight really made me feel very, very good," he said. 

    Blank said the game is just the beginning of big things to come. 

    "I'm happy that it's an important game early in the year, and we're looking forward at the end of the year to playing the National Championship here followed by the Super Bowl the year after, followed by the Final Four.

    Blank said it's the first time a stadium will entertain three big sporting events in a row.

    Saturday's game set a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game attendance record of 76,330.

    Officials said the one game had an economic impact of nearly $30 million.

     

     

    Dragon Con brings 80,000 people to downtown Atlanta

    Dragon Con is back in Atlanta for its 31st year and organizers expect to set an attendance record.

    The pop culture convention is expected to bring 82,000 people to downtown Atlanta during the Labor Day weekend. 

    “It’s amazing. You think it can’t get any bigger, then it does. So many people have a good time. It keeps bringing more people in,” attendee Sam Licktieg said.

     

     

    Organizer Dan Carroll said the event started with two friends and grew to the tens of thousands of people.

    “We give people an experience that’s so wonderful they get out and share it on social media,” he said.


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    Officials said the economic impact of the three-day event will top $70 million. Five host hotels are booked and booming.

    “The restaurants, the bars, even the CVS all benefit from this event,” said Peter McMahon with the Hyatt Regency hotel.

     

     

    Channel 2's Steve Gehlbach spoke to event goers from all over the country who’ve come to Atlanta with one goal: to get their geek on.

    “Whenever you come here, it’s like our Mecca. If you’re a nerd, let it fly,” attendee Josh Galvis said.

    Organizers said Georgia’s booming film industry has given the convention a boost.

    “So many of my friends that I met through Dragon Con are working in the film industry here in Atlanta because when it started to grow, they were looking for people who could make costumes and do makeup, so Dragon Con was a great breeding ground for that,” Carroll said.

    The Dragon Con parade went through the streets of downtown Saturday morning.

    With such large crowds for the convention, there is a lot of security. Event goers said seeing so many police officers made them feel safe.

    Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend

    August 30 - September 4

    The Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend is held each Labor Day Weekend to commemorate and unite the African-American LGBT community.

    Twenty-one years in the running, the weekend features a host of parties, including the PureHeat Community Festival, art shows, educational and empowerment events.

    Address: City-wide, including the Georgia Terrace Hotel, Philips Arena, Piedmont Park and Metro Lanes.

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