As promised, here is the report from DragonCon. It was an incredible experience. I went with a friend of mine on Thursday. Once we had checked into our hotel room, we went down to get our registration badges. While we were waiting, we spoke with several nice people in line. When I told people I was a newbie (first timer at DragonCon), they all offered the same advice which was not to try and do everything. I thought that was pretty good advice and thanked them. Of course, I didn’t say that my friend had already offered me the same advice. She was a long-time veteran and was the perfect person to go with for my first-time experience. After we got our badges, she took me on a tour of the hotels where most of the panels were going to be, and then we went back to our room for the night.
The next morning I went to a writing panel with my friend which was quite good. And something else really neat happened! I ran into someone who moderates the NaNoWriMo group in my old town. She heard me saying that I was from this place and now lived in Alabama. That was all it took for her to recognize me. Very cool! After this panel, my friend and I separated to go to the panels that interested us. When I was looking at the programming for the con, I looked at four different tracks that interested me and planned my schedule accordingly. Those four tracks were the writing track, of course, the Stargate Multiverse track, American Sci-Fi Classics track, and the Sci-Fi Literature track. I wanted to see and hear certain celebrities in person as well as learn about writing and meet other people interested in writing. I spent the rest of Friday going to those panels.
On Saturday morning, the DragonCon Parade was scheduled. I was going to try and go to some panels, but when I saw the amount of people waiting in the streets, I decided to watch to parade from my hotel room window and not go anywhere else until it was over. It was quite interesting to see the creativity in all the costumes and other items that were present and also the excitement as people waited for the parade to pass by. After it was over, I went to my first panel and then went to what was going to be the highlight of my trip. Yes, the highlight. If you are in your 40’s or later, you will recognize this name. Lindsay Wagner was the star of the 70’s American television series The Bionic Woman. She is my all-time favorite actress, and The Bionic Woman is my all-time favorite television show. Anyway, what I was going to do was find the Walk of Fame and get an autograph and a picture. Once I found the Walk of Fame, I had to wait for a bit and then she came back to her table. I would have been one of the first people in line, but was told they were only taking cash so I had to go find an ATM. Finding an ATM in the hotel that still had money was a challenge, but I did it! Came back to the line and just had to wait a few minutes for my chance. It was the coolest thing, and she was so nice! I will always remember that part of my trip. Went to a few more panels and then ended my Saturday experience at the con.
Sunday was a great day too. I started it off at the Fans for Christ worship service. Wasn’t expecting a group like this at DragonCon, but was really happy when I found it. An extra bonus was that the service took place at the hotel I was staying at. Anyway, I went to the service and was very impressed with the songs and with the speaker. He really knew his Scripture and was able to relate it to the experiences of all of us geeks who were at the con. After the service was over, it was time to buy gifts for my boys and to hopefully find a particular bookstore over in the dealer’s room. Boy, was that place confusing for a first time con-goer! I walked around and saw a lot of different tables. They were all very interesting, but they weren’t what I wanted. Finally, I stumbled over the Missing Volume bookstore. Yay!! One of the authors was going to have his new book available, and I wanted to purchase it and get it autographed. His name was Joel Shepherd, and he was from Australia. It was really cool to meet him. Also had my picture made with him and told him how much I had enjoyed his first three books I had read and how much I was looking forward to reading 23 Years on Fire which starts a new trilogy. Once I was done, I purchased gifts for my boys and then spent the afternoon going to panels.
The next day, my friend and I headed back to Birmingham. Reflecting on the experience, I had a great time and learned a lot! Due to the expense, I don’t think I will go every year, but can easily see going once every few years.
Hope everyone has a wonderful day!