There may not be two more disparate events that could take place in the same city at the same time as Dragon Con, the South’s premiere sci-fi and gaming convention, and the Chick Fil A Kickoff Classic.  Hard to imagine the hordes of beer-swilling Alabama and West Virginia fans sharing the sidewalk with girls dressed as Princess Leia and guys dressed as their favorite World of Warcraft characters, but come Saturday that is exactly what downtown Atlanta will bear witness to.  And city officials wouldn’t want it any other way.

Dragon Con was born in 1987 as the project of a local group of role-playing and science fiction fans.  The inaugural event drew some 1,400 fans to the Piedmont Plaza Hotel and featured a smattering of Science Fiction writers, movie-music composers, and role-playing game creators.  In the twenty seven years since, the convention has grown exponentially, with the 2013 version drawing 57,000 attendees, and more expected in 2014.

The Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that the 2011 edition of Dragon Con had a direct economic impact of $40 million on Atlanta, a number that the founders would have scoffed at back in 1987.  With most visitors staying downtown near the convention itself, the weekend’s events become their own miniature city within a city, albeit one more resembling a scene out of Star Wars than the Atlanta you’re used to seeing. 

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