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.