Everyone loves a parade, especially when it has superheroes, Jedi, princesses, stormtroopers, and Spartans. What’s not to love? There’s something for everyone at the Dragon Con Parade. Even the crowd participates in this cosplay extravaganza. I spoke to a few viewers and semi-participants to discover what they were looking forward to the most.
Connie Bolt from Conyers, Georgia, and four of her children—Kaydon, Klairissa, Jonathan, and Clayton—arrived around 7AM to get a front-row seat. What did they hope to see at this, their first Dragon Con Parade? Kayden: Superheroes! Klairissa: Princesses! Jonathan: My favorite car and You-Tuber! Clayton: More superheroes! Yeah!
Next I came across John from Dahlonega, Georgia, attending his 15th Dragon Con. He likes the parade best, but this year he’s going to make time to see the Georgia Aquarium, too. The reason he’s here is because of his grandchildren. “It’s real easy to find things to do with grandsons, finding things to do with granddaughters has been harder to do,” he said. He decided to try Dragon Con fifteen years ago, and it’s been an annual event for them ever since.
Then I stumbled across (an easy thing to do while trying to navigate the packed sidewalk just before the parade) Bobby and Rachel Shogren, dressed as Luigi and Mario. This was their ninth Dragon Con, although only their fourth year attending it together. Rachel is a Georgia native, and the couple lives just outside Atlanta. (Hmm … is a pattern of locals emerging?) Rachel loves people-watching, and she thinks Dragon Con is the best place in the world for it. Bobby’s favorite part is getting to see all the amazing costumes. Why weren’t they in the parade? Rachel didn’t think about signing up, but Bobby would rather watch it, anyway.
Deanna came all the way from … wait for it … Atlanta, but she brought along a truly eye-catching companion—her dog Boomer, a Great Pyrenees rescue. Boomer is a big boy, weighing in at a hefty 110 pounds. They have been besties for three or four years now, and he adores coming to the parade. In fact, this is his third. Deanna can’t wait to see Grand Marshal Stan Lee. What does Boomer like best? Schmoozing with all the lovely people, particularly those in costume. (Deanna tells people that Boomer is dressed as a baby Wampa.)
Five-year attendees Leslie, Errin, and their six-year-old granddaughter Mia … oh, hang on a minute. “I’m six-and-a-half,” she proudly corrected her doting grandmothers. (That half year is terribly important, you know.) Mia has been coming to the parade all her life. Where are they from? Born and raised in Atlanta, of course. Coming to the parade has become a yearly tradition for them. They love seeing all the costumes, and Mia is really looking forward to seeing a ninja. You go, girl.
Elizabeth brought her two children, Isaac and Jayden, ages 3 and 7. Isaac dressed as his favorite character, Captain America, while Jayden chose Spiderman, his favorite. It was their second time viewing the parade, and they came all the way from … um … Smyrna. Yep, it’s becoming quite apparent that locals love the Dragon Con Parade, even though it mucks up Atlanta’s downtown traffic even worse than usual. Both kids are looking forward to seeing their chosen superheroes. Jayden can’t wait to see the stormtroopers, too.
Kristian and his son Weston, who is already four years old and very proud of this enormous achievement, were here for their very first Dragon Con Parade. They are originally from New York, but…well, they’re from Atlanta now. In fact, Weston was born in Atlanta. Another native. Weston was looking forward to seeing superheroes, Spiderman in particular, even though he was wearing an Ironman T-shirt. His dad joined in the fun by dressing up as Waldo.
Last but not least, I blundered into Brad Davis, who was wearing just what Weston was looking for. Dressed as Spiderman, this Atlantan was looking forward to seeing all the great costumes.
Everyone was smiling and anticipating the treat to come. So, enjoy the parade Atlantans and our welcome guests from everywhere. May all your parade dreams come true.