Written by Tom Knighton
Dragon*Con has now come and gone. One of the largest fan conventions in the nation, which also happens to be in our state, is now in the books for 2012. So what did I see, and how does that apply to Albany?
First, I am more convinced than ever that we need similar themed event in Albany. When I think about what all was paid for hotel rooms, food, and whatever else this past weekend in Atlanta, I can’t help but think of what kind of impact the 40,000 plus who attend made on Atlanta. If they all spent just $100 on local accommodations and food, you’re looking at $4 million. The fact of the matter is that far, far more was spent per person.
It also happens that it was a lot of fun. Quite a few folks from the area have already said they would come to a local con, and I can only imagine how many from the area would attend one if it were scheduled at the right point.
We will not likely get the kind of numbers Atlanta does, primarily because we don’t have their infrastructure to support it.
Dragon*Con takes place in four hotels in downtown Atlanta. It is easily possible to walk between all points. Our downtown, with just one hotel capable of holding con panels and exhibitor areas would necessarily minimize the size. While there are places downtown that a convention could be held, it would require people staying elsewhere and coming in daily for the convention. This could keep some away.
Another obstacle we have in Albany is transportation. Being off the interstate may hurt attendance from some, but our airport would provide a larger hurdle. It serves Albany’s purposes well, but it’s not set up for the kind of traffic it would need to be for the influx of passengers from all over the United States to descend upon the Good Life City.
Despite those obstacles, a well run con could be another asset for Albany. Not only would it provide an economic impact, but it would serve the purpose of just adding another type of event that Albany could be known for. We already have our Mardis Gras celebration that we are becoming very well known for, and of course there is the Snicker’s Marathon as well. The Chehaw Indian Festival is another one that we can show as an example of what Albany is capable of.
Adding a con would be yet another. We need these kinds of events to help enrich Albany. Now we just need to see what Katee Sackhoff and Stan Lee are doing around that time.