The annual Dragon Con parade is the single largest event of Dragon Con weekend and is the only event that does not require a badge to attend. From talking to attendees from previous years I learned that traffic would be a nightmare and that parking prices are inflated at least 200% so I decided to take the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) downtown to save time and money. The closer I got to downtown, the more people there were on the train, and we were all headed to the parade. I guess great minds thought alike.
I arrived at the parade area about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to begin. I only needed to go about a block and a half to get to the designated area for media and even that proved to be nearly impossible. The streets had already been barricaded so I tried alternative ways to get to the intersection next to the Hyatt where the media representatives were congregating. After many attempts to navigate the extremely crowded streets, I followed the lead of more experienced people, hopped one of the barricade and walked down the street.
When I finally arrived at the media area I was able to (with the help of a step stool) get a good spot for pictures. I really had no idea what to expect besides hundreds of people in cosplay. As the parade started, it didn’t take long to realize that I was standing in a spot that offered no protection from the sun. After about 10 minutes it felt like the temperature was in excess of 100 degrees and I was pretty convinced I would need to use the extra t-shirt that I had in my bag.
That said, the parade was amazing and far exceeded my expectations. While a few of the featured stars, like Ralph Macchio, walked the parade, they were hardly the focal point. The Dragon Con parade was all about the people that took so much time and effort to perfect their costumes. It’s fair to say that almost every mainstream (and some not so mainstream) characters from TV, movies, comics, and video games that I could imagine were represented. Even the alternate history cosplay was amazing. I really enjoyed seeing Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder from the 80’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There was so much I wanted to capture I burned out a full camera battery in less than thirty minutes. Luckily, I had a backup.
The highlight of the event was when I was able to walk in the parade for about a block and get some pictures from the inside. The experience really made me wish that I had a more professional camera. The parade was definitely a must see for all Dragon Con attendees and a good event for families that live in the Atlanta area. I will definitely take my kids next year and make sure that I am there at least an hour before the event.