DRAGON CON 2016 Attracts Record Crowd

– by Michael Connally

Organizers Call 30th Anniversary Dragon Con a Spectacular Success

Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, and sci-fi convention, announced a record attendance of more than 77,000 people for its 30th Anniversary celebration.

Fans came from around the world and all 50 states, with this year’s convention attracting people from as far away as Japan, New Zealand, and Fiji.  Anime director Shinji Aramaki, one of some 400 actors, artists, authors and other creators, also travelled from Japan to be a part of the celebration.  

“Our 30th Anniversary convention was a spectacular success,” convention co-chair Rachael Reeves said. “We notched a number of firsts, and were able to offer our fans an experience that was worthy of this special anniversary.”

As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, the convention, for the first time, offered substantial programming on Thursday and launched a new, fan-driven awards program, the Dragon Awards, to recognize the creators of science fiction and fantasy in books, comic books, games and filmed entertainment.  The convention expanded by more 215,000 square feet with the addition to AmericasMart Building 2 to its footprint. 

Atlanta’s CW69 broadcast the Dragon Con parade live on Saturday, Sept. 3rd, with a rebroadcast in primetime that evening.  The parade broadcast was sponsored by Six Flags Over Georgia. 

Actor Alan Tudyk announced the release of Con Man The Game, a mobile game based on Tudyk’s hit web series Con Man that allows players to build and run their own fan convention. 

Mythbusters Tory Belleci and Kari Byron announced that they, along with Grant Imahara, will star in the upcoming Netflix original seriesWhite Rabbit Project.  The show will look at the science behind things such as jet packs and fast cars.

In its fundraising efforts, Dragon Con raised about $98,000 for its 2016 official charity, the Atlanta Center for Self Sufficiency, which helps put homeless individuals on a pathway to achieving a healthy independence.  ACSS is the largest and most successful provider of workforce development resources to homeless men and women in Atlanta.

The money was raised through auctions and other charity events, plus a $50,000 match from Dragon Con. Over the last five years, since 2012, Dragon Con has raised $440,000 for its official charities

Since 2014, which marked the start of the organization’s Superheroes program, Dragon Con and its fans have contributed more than 2,000 hours of community service.  During 2016, Dragon Con Superheroes maintained portions of Piedmont Park with the Georgia Conservancy and Piedmont Park Conservancy, participated in the annual Walk to End Lupus Now, and helped fill school backpacks with For The Kid In All of Us.   

Dragon Con’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive attracted a huge turnout, with about 3,000 attendees donating some 6,000 units of blood and blood products this year.  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. 

About Dragon Con

Dragon Con is the internationally known pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta. Organized for fans, Dragon Con features more than about 3,500 hours of comics, film, television, costuming, art, music, and gaming over four days. For more information, please visit www.dragoncon.org 

Announcement, Conventions Dragon Con, Dragon Con Parade, ComicCon, Conventions, Comic Convention