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Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Looking Back on Dragon Con 2023: Why Does This Con Feel So Special?

Dragon Con 2023 brought 70,000 fans together to show off their awesome cosplay, organize hundreds of extremely niche panel experiences, and meet up with new and old friends to grow the ever expanding lore of Dragon Con itself (more on that in a second). From my perspective, the con was a great success, evidenced by the organizers working with their guests to respect the SAG-AFTRA Strike and how they improved the wait time to get into the America’s Marts buildings (when I visited, anyway).

What I really want to talk about as I look back on the weekend is a question I had been trying to answer this year: What makes Dragon Con special? And I think I have an answer.

Dragon Con is special because the stories most celebrated through cosplay, events, and more are the ones that form from experiencing the con itself. You can look at the big stories, from the legend of the Marriott carpet to the Cult of Jon, for the most prime examples of this. Few other cons can boast the sizable cult following that these stories have garnered, each getting their own spot in the parade, multitudinous cosplay iterations… the latter even produced a pseudo-religious ceremonial meet up!

But of course, these stories are not the only two examples, with panels, cosplay ideas, and this fascinating phenomena of people making these unique ribbons that you can add to your badge cropping up year after year because of how the fans held onto their love for these parts of their past con experiences. As someone coming into Dragon Con for only the second year, I realized that I had felt like these experiences were so legendary so as to be almost unapproachable. On the other side of this second year, knowing how friendly and personal the people and this whole con really is… I feel like I can become part of the story too. Keep being you, Dragon Con – you’re awesome!

One more bit of thanks to the organizers who made all this possible and special this year! I am already excited to go again next year.

Did you attend Dragon Con 2023? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @TheConCollectve.

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Jeffrey Venture
Jeffrey Venture
Jeffrey Venture (he/him) is a Dungeon Master, SDCC Badge Holder, Writer, and all-around giant nerd. He mostly posts here about Dungeons & Dragons stuff, as well as Comic-Con updates and comic book reviews. You can catch him on TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube for more D&D stuff, including his #DnDifyIt series.

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