Two weeks ago today, we were arriving in downtown Atlanta for one of GGI's favorite weekends of the year - DragonCon! It was an amazing weekend, filled with celebrity encounters, fabulous cosplay, and tremendous fun. But when the lines for the celeb panels are too long and crowds at the vendor hall and the art show are intimidating, what's a geek girl to do? That's when it's time to seek out some of DragonCon's hidden gems - the panels that might not be as crowded, but provide entertainment, education, and more!
The first year I attended DragonCon, I was overwhelmed by sheer size and scope of the event and nearly killed myself trying to do it all. At the end of my third day running from hotel to hotel and panel to panel, I found myself sitting in a panel I'd chosen for no other reason than a mention of my beloved Lovecraft. It was the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company's presentation of one of Lovecraft's horrible tales, and it was amazing! I've made an effort to make it to one ARTC's performances every year since, and I've seen everything from original works to horror to this year's Bored of the Rings Tolkien spoof. I'm never disappointed in their performances, and there are several to choose from every year - so I encourage everyone to add them to your "can't miss" list for DragonCon 2016!
The Sheraton is home to the Trek Track, with plenty of panels to keep Star Trek fans entertained - but within its halls, you can also find the Paranormal Track, with everything from Ghost Hunters to cryptozoologists - and my personal favorite, serious paranormal investigators who are more interested in finding the truth than sensationalizing every they see or hear. This year, I saw several great panels by KyL Cobb and Richard Estep, two investigators with different backgrounds who share a deep interest in learning and presenting the truth about historical haunts, ghosts, and demons. I enjoyed their lectures so much that I purchased a book by each of them, and reading their tales has helped take the edge off my post-con blues.
DragonCon is always amazing, and the growing crowds mean we may have to stand in line even for some smaller panels - but it's worth it to go off the beaten path and find something different to add to your Con experience!