A light morning mist failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds lining Peachtree Street Saturday for the Dragon*Con parade. In nine years of attendance, these two reporters have never before been able to attend the event. It’s not hard to catch sight of the amazingly authentic costumes around the hotels, so we wondered if the parade would be as good as advertised. To dig up the truth, we squeezed into a place on the sidewalk while a batch of aliens followed by their predator foe kicked off the main event. From guttural wails to piercing bagpipes, the volunteer-filled procession held all of the accoutrements of a proper parade, and the procession of costumed participants did not disappoint.
Sporting more spandex than an X-men movie, fictional characters marched past the crowd. A Highland warrior in blue face paint strode as nonchalantly through downtown Atlanta as if he were storming a battlefield painted with his native heather. Close on the heels of this brave warrior, a collection of World of Warcraft avatars shouted “For the Horde!” Their show of bravado, however, paled before the sheer audacity of the Spartans—in little more than capes and sandals—plunging their spears high into the air above their heads to the accompaniment of a rousing battle cry.
A platoon of Master Chiefs marched by, followed by two Chinese dragons cavorting amid a group of Kung Fu devotees. An entire Slytherin Quidditch team rubbed elbows with Snape, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dumbledore. There were pirates and robots, zombies and anime favorites. A giant green monster erupted from the back of a truck, while Frankenstein and his bride road high on the back of a wedding convertible bearing a sign that read, “We were made for each other.”
Speaking of convertibles, the vehicles in the parade provided an extra layer of cool that can only be showcased on the street. From one wicked 1960s Batman car, to a Mad Max slaughter-car with double machine-gun cover, to the Ghostbusters-mobile with siren wailing and lights flashing, some lucky parade participants travelled in style. While the General Lee Charger seemed a bit out of place, its counterpart muscle-car-converted Klingon Bird of Prey stole all the glory. Nothing beats a Klingon on a Harley, or a pirate ship full of wench-booty.
Goggled and corseted costumers mingled with an angel-winged devil, while Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters waved signs that read “We want Acheron!” and “Bite me!” Not to be forgotten, the red-white-and-blue Bloodmobile bus reminded viewers to donate. (Watch out Comicon—Doc Koz reports that we’re on a roll!) The Trekkies were out in force. Red shirts cleared the path for last year’s Miss Klingon Empire, who strutted among her adoring conquests.
Celebrities peppered the processional, including Lou Ferrigno, always a popular favorite who elicited cheers from the children sitting along the curb, John Schneider and Catherine Bach, who rode together, and Richard Hatch, whose car introduced the sizeable contingent of Battlestar Galactica participants representing both the re-imagined series and the original one.
And, of course, the ever-popular 501st Storm Troopers led a cavalcade of Star Wars favorites. Storm Troopers in kilts . . . what could be sexier? Lovely but stern female attendants dressed in Empire black escorted Darth Vader. Chewbacca towered over the crowd. But one of our personal favorites was a wee Storm Trooper in full body armor. You’re tempted to say, “Aren’t you a little small for a Storm Trooper?” But that’s the whole point of the parade–there’s room for everyone, from young to old, and live to undead.