Today we tried to get up early enough to have breakfast down in the hotel restaurant but after walking around the buffet and seeing what kind of food they were offering for $20 person, we decided to just have bagels and fruit from the Starbucks counter again. We then took the shuttle from the hotel and went to the Con arriving a little after 8:30 a.m. The Dragon Con parade was today and it started at 10 AM. and the sides of the streets were already filling up. It was a beautiful morning so we hiked up to where the staging area was. The closer we got, the thinner the crowd became. We found a good spot on a hill where the parade would be marching up. The sun was going to be at our back and we had a nice soft pile of mulch to sit in. Win!
It was going to be about an hour before the parade started, so we sat down and I got my camera ready. I bought a new digital camera several months ago, a Panasonic Lumix LX7. It’s a great camera, almost a cross between a DSLR and a micro 4:3. It only has the one lens, but it has a large image sensor and full control over the aperture and shutter. The only problem is there’s no viewfinder, which makes taking pictures in bright daylight a little hard. Fortunately for my birthday, Joy’s parents bought me an electronic viewfinder for it!
By 10 AM, traffic on the street in front of us had disappeared. We heard the rumble of police-edition Harley Davidson and the tell-tale wailing of bag pipes and we new the parade had begun. The parade was spectacular! There were so many people in awesome costumes from all different entertainment and gaming genres. There were superheroes, supervillains, monsters, soldiers, even all the elements from the periodic table were there. There were representatives from Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Gate, Halo, Mass Effect, Warcraft, Game of Thrones, Ghostbusters, 300, Doctor Who, G.I. Joe, Futurama, and SO much more! We saw an original Batmobile from the 60’s, the Mach 5 from Speed Racer, and even Indy and Short Round drove past in a motorcycle and sidecar! The cosplayers in the parade were fantastic. They got the crowd laughing and cheering and were great at interacting with kids young and old.
Once the parade was over, we hiked towards the parade staging area thinking we could beat the crowd that was following the parade. We happened upon a Mellow Mushroom that had just opened so we went inside and had lunch. After eating, we hiked back to the Hilton to try and catch Mythbusters’ Grant Imahara’s Q&A panel.
We weren’t in costume today, well, not really in costume. It was Joy’s birthday and she wore a “Birthday Princess” tiara. She also wore a blue TARDIS dress and I wore my “TARDIS Invaders” shirt. On our way to Grant’s panel, we stumbled upon a full size TARDIS and had to take a picture. Once we made it to the queue for the panel, we turned around there was a 10th Doctor Who behind us!
The wait was worth it. We made it in and got pretty close to the front of the room, which was completely packed! Grant was warm and funny and he confirmed the rumors that he, Tori, and Kari were indeed leaving the show (something I had not heard). He didn’t say what their next plans were but he denied any spin-off shows.
After the panel, we decided to go hit the marketplace. Even though it was insanely crowded, we found somebody selling some really cool board games and we picked up a new game called Dungeon Roll and a dice tray. With boardgames on the brain, we decided to head to the hotel where all the board and table top games were being played. The gaming area was all the way down in the basement of the hotel and as we descended the last few steps, we were nearly knocked over by a pungent odor. We figured it was just par for the course in a room full of gamers who were on a 48-hour gaming bender, but it turns out there was a guy with a hot dog cart serving up dogs with all the fixings… including piping hot sauerkraut.
We acclimated to the smell and decided to walk around and see if we could find a new game to spectate or maybe even join in on. It was like being a Federation away team aboard the Borg ship… they were completely unaware and un-threatened by our presence. We walked among them un-noticed and un-invited so we decided to bail and head for the surface level for fresh air and dinner.
Since it was Joy’s birthday, we decided to go to a Brazilian steakhouse for dinner. The food was fabulous and there was plenty of it! We got meat drunk on bacon-wrapped chicken, lamb, sausage, steak, and prime rib. After dinner we waddled back to our shuttle pickup and went back to our hotel. For a night cap, Joy and I ordered dessert from room service and played a few games of the Dungeon Roll and Zombie dice before retiring for the night.