Hidden Treasures at Dragon Con

Swag N’ Seek is fast becoming one of the biggest and most enjoyable trends at Dragon Con. Started by Francesca in 2017, this warmhearted group is spreading joy by hiding little treasures in the main hotels for attendees to find. Each has a tag, too, so you know it’s yours to keep. It’s amazing how much fun it is to hunt for Swag N’ Seek treasure. It brightened this reporter’s day so much that a few quick questions to these warmhearted gift-givers seemed in order. The only hard part was finding them in action before they vanished in a puff of pixie dust.

Photo by Debbie Yutko

First, I spotted Christa giving out little stuffed sock pets in the Hyatt. She’s been participating for about four years now. After seeing directions online for cute lucky cats, she made them for 2020. Since Dragon Con was cancelled that year due to Covid-19, she saved them to give away in the following year. The materials aren’t expensive, so she can make a lot of them. And they’re adorable! Christa hopes her kitties and accompanying adoption papers will inspire people to support their local animal shelter.

Then Makenzie happened by with her daughter Saoirse, who is just 14 months old and attending her first Dragon Con. This is Makenzie’s fifth. She found out about Swag N’ Seek by chance last year and loves the group’s wholesomeness and creativity. She’s giving out colorful round refrigerator magnets with googly eyes. “People have been wonderful,” she said. “Everyone’s been so kind and generous.”

Photo by Debbie Yutko

Next I found Katie, who started in 2021 but only with the seeking not the swagging because she happened to find an item she thought someone had lost. When she picked it up, there was a little note that said she’d found Swag N’ Seek and was free to keep it or regift it. She did re-hide a few things, which she thought was fun, too. She put a duck in an elevator, and it kept going up and down for a while before it was gone. “It was so exciting,” Katie said with a delighted laugh. This year, she and her husband, Jeremiah, gave out real sunflowers. She also attended an official Swag N’ Seek meetup, where everyone was exchanging swag and ribbons.

Karla, cosplaying as Russel from Up, thoughtfully handed out swag at the Daily Dragon office. She’s been participating in Swag N’ Seek for a couple years now and has seen it explode in popularity—so much so that the group even has panels now. “People get so excited when they find swag,” she said. “I had a friend nearly tackle me in fun to get to a swag first. It’s pure excitement, pure joy.”

Photo by Jesse Garrett

Author of the article

Debbie Yutko lives near Atlanta with her husband and two cats. When she isn’t gardening, rescuing homeless kittens, or cramming math formulas into teenagers’ brains, she can be found stringing words together at her computer and dreaming of adventures in far-off lands. She is a lifelong reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy and a veteran of Dragon Con, where she enjoys attending panels and working with the talented staff of the Daily Dragon.