DragonCon 2003 Review

2003 marks my 10th trip to DragonCon. From the enjoyment standpoint, this year was like every other year – I had a great time! However, things were definitely different at DragonCon. Change is good, though and I can easily see DragonCon continuing to grow even after I get too old to go.

This year is the first year that I wasn’t all that excited about the guests. A few of the guests that I had liked to see had already cancelled before I got there and a few others that I wanted to see didn’t show. That’s not to say that DragonCon didn’t have the guests – THEY DID! It is just that I wasn’t a fan of any of the shows they represented. Stargate, Farscape and Buffy ruled the weekend. I wish I could have been fan of at least one of those shows but I just haven’t had the time to sit down and regularly watch any of them. I watched some of the on occasion, but never was addicted to any of them like I was B5.

They also had some interesting folks like Gil Gerard from Buck Rogers, and David Carridine from Kung Fu. But it was sad to see these people I admired so much a long time ago now, as old and washed up as they are. Especially Gil Gerard, who I was a huge fan of when he was Buck Rogers.

But other people turned out for the stars – especialy the Buffy stars. At least 3000 to 4000 more people showed up for James “Spike” Marsters alone. Lines were impossibly long for some of the major events. They moved the Costume contest to the Civic Center because they new they would have a big crowd. The Dawn Contest was also very crowded. I could easily say this was a attendance record setting year for DragonCon.

One thing I noticed this year was that DragonCon made an effort to tone things down to a more family level. This made it good in many ways, but also kind of boring in other ways. The Dawn look-a-like contest was VERY toned down, and because they had so many contestants, it dragged out. I got bored and left early. Howver, the attendees paid little attention to the toning-down and after 9 PM, there were sites to be seen.

My mind was on promoting all the conventions I represent the whole weekend – MACE, StellarCon and ConCarolinas. I tried to game some, but chose the wrong game to play in. I should have played in something less “introductory”, but I still had fun. I can’t say I did a lot more than that – went to the Star Wars Costume Contest, and went to the dealers room a lot. Met with the Wizkids people to talk to them about MACE. Met with a lot of other people to talk about MACE and ConCarolinas. And ran the Carolinas Con Party sunday night. I guess my mind was so much on promoting the Cons that I couldn’t stop and really try to enjoy some of the events going on. I missed out on my favorite thing – the costume contest – because of the party, but that’s OK. THe party was awesome.

My room mates went to several of the star’s panels, including Christopher “T’ilk” Judge from Stargate. They said he was an awesome guest. I would have probably liked to see him now that I look back. The Lord of the Rings preview was too full for us to go to. I did see the Robot battles, which has gotten better and better every year. I also saw some of the Radio theater group, which was cool but after the party the night before, I couldn’t stay awake to watch it all. Others did tell me that the costume contest was absolutely incredible… which made me wish I hadn’t missed it. I’ll look for the pictures on-line in a few weeks.

I took well over 100 pictures at the Con, most of them hallway costumed folks. Met some old friends, made some new ones and had an all around good time. Next year, I’ll plan out the weekend better and go to some of the events a little early to beat the crowd.

I think my wife had a good time, but she also told me that we should have done more. But she understood my mind was on the party and the Con promotions. It didn’t ruin either of our weekends, it just made it seem like we missed out on some stuff. However, I always end up feeling like that at the end of every Dragon Con simply because there is so much stuff.

DragonCon was awesome for everyone, I believe. I want to go next year, but things may change those plans – like a baby. So If not next year, I’ll go in 2005.

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