Initially estimated at 60,000 people, fan attendance reached 65,000 and sold out all five days. Fans traveled from all 50 states and a handful foreign countries, including Canada, Brazil, Australia, and several western European nations.
With monies still being collected, the convention’s charity efforts have raised at least $190,000 for Open Hand Atlanta, which provides meals and other services to food-insecure individuals with medically directed diets, already a record amount, far surpassing the previous record of $142,000 raised in 2021 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta.
Since 2013, the convention has consistently raised more than $100,000 for each of its annual official charities, including a dollar-for-dollar match from the convention up to an additional $100,000. Funds are raised through convention-based auctions, special merchandise sales, special events, and the convention match.
Dragon Con will return in 2023 for the five-day Labor Day Weekend, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.
“We were delighted to bring our fans together for another terrific convention, where they celebrated the things they love, connected with friends, and forgot about the outside world for a few days,” convention co-chair Rachel Reeves said. “We are incredibly impressed with fans’ generosity and their willingness to support Open Hand Atlanta, which does great work to meet an important community need.”
Some of this year’s top guests included cultural icon William Shatner, Emmy -nominated star of television and movies Morena Baccarin, David Ramsey, star of CW’s collection of superhero shows known as the Arrowverse, and Once Upon a Time’s Jennifer Morrison, along with a host of other celebrities and experts from the worlds of television, movies, comics, literature, and gaming were on hand to greet fans, lead discussions, and sign autographs during this year’s convention.
Several television shows filmed in Georgia were represented including Doom Patrol, Stargirl, The Walking Dead, and Fear the Walking Dead.
In the Dragon Awards, the only fan’s choice award in fandom, Leviathan Falls by James S.A. Corey won the Best Science Fiction Novel, the first of 15 categories of fiction, comics, gaming, and filmed entertainment. This is a second Dragon for Corey, following a 2017 win for Babylon’s Ashes.
Dragon Con also announced three other convention awards, recognizing achievement in short fiction and lifelong contributions to the profession and fandom.
Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather by Sarah Pinsker was honored with the Eugie Foster Memorial Award for Short Fiction, established in the memory of the Nebula-award winning author and long-time Dragon Con volunteer director. A juried award, the “Eugie” celebrates the best in innovative fiction. Past winners include Elaine Cuyegkeng (2021), Simone Heller (2019), and Fran Wilde (2018). No award was given in 2020.
The Julie Award, given to an industry professional for universal achievement spanning multiple genres, was awarded to comic book writer and artist Jim Starlin, who created Thanos, Shang-Chi, Dreadstar, and many other best-recognized characters. Starlin was also a pioneer in securing creator ownership for comics artists and writers.
And, John Carroll was recognized with the Hank Reinhardt Fandom Award, given each year to an individual who has made significant contributions to fandom. Moore has not only been a 15-year volunteer at Dragon Con, working in the convention’s Tech Ops and other departments, but also has supported several other science fiction and fantasy conventions around metro Atlanta including sister convention MomoCon.
LifeSouth, which has organized the convention’s annual Robert A. Heinlein “Pay It Forward” blood drive since 2002, held another successful drive. This year, more than 3,000 donors donated to the drive, resulting in about 7,500 blood components. The annual drive – consistently ranked as the largest convention-based blood drive – benefits LifeSouth, which serves more than 25 hospitals in the Atlanta area and 125 hospitals in the Southeast.