Dragon*Con Parade 2009

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This year marks my third Dragon*Con Parade, held in downtown Atlanta the Saturday of each Labor Day weekend.  D*C, among its 30 or so programming tracts, may be most notable in the area of costuming due to its conspicuous visibility - in the hotels, in the meeting rooms, in the streets, in the restaurants, etc.  It would be a waste for there not to be a parade.

Primarily held on several blocks of Peachtree Street, the parade is easily accessed by public transit, car, or by foot if staying in a downtown hotel.  My wife, son, and I arrived about an hour early to meet a friend and claim what is now our customary front row, curb-side view.  Situated in front of the BB&T Building, camera in hand, all was set.  Except, there was an hour wait for the parade to start.

This is actually a fine thing, as people watching is not only abundant in opportunities but also expected.  Some costumed people are heading to the starting point and almost as many are littered along the "plain folk" in the parade lines to watch.  Peachtree St. is a main thoroughfare downtown, and although there is not significant traffic on a Saturday morning, it was curious that the parade route was not shut down at least a half hour before its scheduled start.  In previous years, police on motorbikes would patrol the route beforehand to make certain that the streets were clear and that the crowds were encroaching into the street.  I guess the city's financial woes can be observed in that there were no policemen observed except about 10 minutes prior to the start when the street was finally closed off.

That would be about 20 minutes after a Sutherland's Foodservice truck parked about 20' from us and began delivering food to a restaurant.  This speaks to  expectations.  One expects that the driver knows the parade will start in a half hour.  One expects that he has a minimal amount of goods to deliver and will have ample time to move his vehicle from the parade route.  One expects that a police officer will inspect the parade route and clear any remaining vehicles.  One expects that the fleas from 1000 camels will infest the driver'sDSC_0082 armpits after completing his task just as the parade arrived so that his vehicle could not be moved.

For parade watching, this obstruction translates as follows.  People were very patient for the driver to move his truck, as each time he returned to his truck, he peeked around to see if anything was coming.  But with the arrival of the parade, which was not obvious to us with a blocked view, everyone in the know rushed forward, quickly rendering those who were first, last.  Ordinarily, we would have a nice view of the approaching parading marauders, super heroes, troopers, and  ________ (fill in the blank) as well as an opportunity to find a subject, frame a picture, focus, and snap. 

Instead, we were left to guess what we were seeing in the only sight lane we had - their hind quarters.

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This photo happens to capture two fairly interesting participants that were also photographed by Phil Skinner of ajc.com:

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What a difference the perspective makes. (It's a Star Wars Imperial Walker (from The Empire Strikes Back). In any case, the few pictures that I was able to crop and salvage are posted on Flickr.  <---- Click there.  (It won't take you long to go through them).

It was a very disappointing start to the day, but fortunately, costuming goes well beyond the parade, and I'll add another set shortly.

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