Every Labor Day weekend, tens of thousands of attendees flood to downtown Atlanta for the biggest, baddest, and most rambunctious convention in America: Dragon Con.
The event has attracted fans from across the country since 1987, conceptualized by its founders as a multi-genre convention that could appeal to all flavor of geek. Since its conception, it has become the ultimate behemoth of the convention scene, infamous for its drinking culture and party scene. Dragon Con chaos permeates every inch of downtown Atlanta over the course of the weekend–downtown area hotels are booked full more than half a year in advance, the signature cosplay parade shuts down Peachtree Street, with drunken Dragon Con attendees flooding into both public and private areas to party.
With Dragon Con attendance pushing a new record of 80,000 this year, it’s no surprise that the party can sometimes turn sour. Particularly in recent years, news outlets and congoers alike have noticed a concerning spike in the number of accidents at DC. Rodney Brown from Nerd Caliber noted that even three years ago, in 2014, the dangerous combination of Dragon Con’s size and drinking culture was pushing the boundaries of safety (issues such as a disabled man being pushed by a cosplayer on stilts, glass bottles being thrown out of balcony windows, and increasing frequency of sexual harassment were attributed to Dragon Con’s lack of safety regulation). With this past weekend’s events, Rodney’s warning is more pertinent than ever.
According to multiple news sources, at around 1:30am on Sunday of Dragon Con, chairs that were thrown from a 10th story balcony of the Marriott Marquis hotel (the event’s main hotel) in downtown Atlanta hit two convention attendees on the head. The two individuals, Kelly McDaniel and Jamie Temple-Thompson Amador, were taken to separate hospitals. Both women were treated and released shortly, with McDaniel receiving staples a head wound. McDaniel, in particular, has been very outspoken about the incident, posting a public call-to-arms on Facebook later that same morning. Atlanta police are investigating the incident, but the individuals who threw the chairs have yet to be identified.
WSB-TV, a local Atlanta news source, released a statement from the Dragon Con Director of Media Relations:
We are grateful that the injuries were not more severe. And we are proud of the Dragon Con attendees who stepped up quickly, realized the severity of the situation and provided immediate assistance.
The intent of the statement is admirable but noncommittal; Dragon Con, how are you going to stop this from happening again? I, for one, definitely won’t be attending until you figure that out.
Additional source: Daily Mail