It’s hard to believe that I’ve been coming to the Con since 2010. A lot in my life has changed since that first trip to Atlanta…but one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that the Con is a great big party. It’s filled with people of all kinds and all passions: if you have a little piece of pop culture that you absolutely love, you’ll find your family here. I’ve developed a wonderful Con Family that I seek out every year.
I arrived earlier than usual on Thursday, flying out of Tulsa at 6:00 AM. For the first time, I took Atlanta’s light rail (MARTA) into downtown. It couldn’t have been easier. In fact, it brought back the feelings of taking mass transit that I experienced while abroad. I sure wish Tulsa had a stronger transit system. All that being said, I was able to arrive at my hotel downtown and check-in well before noon. That gave me a lot of time to explore before the Con started on Friday!
Although, really, the Con doesn’t start on Friday anymore. It starts on Thursday. And, really, it’s getting busier on the Wednesday and even the Tuesday before. I couldn’t believe how packed everything was as I wandered the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton lobbies. Thursday is no longer the ‘quiet day’ of DragonCon. I saw just as many A-Game costumes at the Marriott Atrium that day than any of the other days.
DragonCon is made up of many parts: celebrity panels, creative workshops, vendor booths, gaming halls, cosplayers, and a parade that lasts nearly two hours. In and around those happenings are nearly 100k fans of all ages celebrating every imaginable aspect of pop culture. Since there’s so much to do, everyone gets to make their own Con experience. My Con consists mostly of wandering the host hotels with my camera, taking photos of my favorite costumes. I am consistently amazed at the craftsmanship on display. Although I didn’t dress up this year, I was able to share in the pride of many others that did.
There’s always a trend. This year, there were far fewer Harley Quinn’s and a lot of the Deadpools were of higher quality. A ton of costumes integrated portable speakers and music. And a lot of the photographers were taking video…I’ll admit I got annoyed more than once when someone was commanding cosplayers to do different things while they walked back and forth to get certain shots while I just stood and waited.
It was a long weekend in the best way. I spent time with friends I only see once a year, sharing meals and having great conversations. In fact, that quality time meant I took fewer photos this year since 2010; no regrets! Below are a few of my favorite costumes from DragonCon 2018. My full photoset is available on Flickr here. To my friends in Atlanta: thank you. It was a magical weekend.