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DragonCon cancels in-person convention this Labor Day, replaced by virtual version

Halo cosplay at 2010's parade
Halo cosplay at 2010's parade

Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia

DragonCon organizers have decided to cancel the in-person Labor Day weekend extravaganza in downtown Atlanta due to the pandemic, opting for a virtual event instead.

“After many months of hand-wringing, sleepless nights, and more Zoom meetings than we can count, we have decided that Dragon Con 2020 event will not be held in person,” the organizers announced on the event’s website today. “Trust us, we are just as bummed as you are, but know we did not make this decision lightly.”

On the site, they said that given the current situation, they could not guarantee a safe convention and had to make this difficult decision.

“We truly did everything possible to remain positive and exhaust all options,” they noted. “We are looking forward to 2021 when we can all meet again in person.”

The convention is one of many major annual Atlanta events that has had to be postponed or cancelled. And almost every major comparable convention nationwide has done the same thing.

DragonCon organizers said last year’s 33rd annual event drew the largest crowd yet with 85,000 attendees over four days. “We were on track for 90,000 for this year,” said spokesman Dan Carroll in an interview Monday.

Over the years, the convention has grown in popularity as more sci-fi/fantasy sub-genres and brands have popped up and flourished. Shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” turned cosplay and other seemingly nerdy pursuits into the mainstream. The Saturday morning DragonCon parade each year has drawn tens of thousands of fans, many who would later hang out in the hotel lobbies taking selfies with costumed attendees.

Carroll said he’s as disappointed as everybody else but “all the evidence points to us having no choice but to make this hard decision.”

And given DragonCon’s relatively modest sunk costs and massive number of volunteers, Carroll said he is confident DragonCon will survive for a bigger and better 2021 convention.

Carroll said plans are being put together to create a free virtual version which will feature some new content, “best of” panels and events from past years and virtual cosplay contests.

For folks who have already become DragonCon members this year, membership will be rolled over automatically for 2021.  There is also a Google form to request a refund.

Each of the four hotels involved has slightly different refund/reservation rules with details here.

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