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Back in the spring, as the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to have a major impact on pop culture events around the country, it became clear that convention season would be dramaticaly impacted. The question wasn't if, but for how long? Spring events like SXSW and Emerald City Comic Con were ultimately cancelled, and there was at least some hope that summer events could go forward as planned. The San Diego Comic-Con announced it would also fold on its 2020 in-person plans, and the summer seemed lost. Now, the inevitable push into the fall is happening, as one of the biggest conventions on the East Coast has announced its 2020 event will no longer move forward as planned.
Atlanta's Dragon Con, one of the most popular conventions in the United States and a cornerstone of post-San Diego con season, announced Monday that it will no longer move forward with plans to hold its 2020 event in September. The convention was supposed to be held over Labor Day weekend, in about two months, but the ongoing severity of the pandemic led organizers to announce that they will instead pivot to a virtual convention held the same weekend.
The announcement was accompanied by a lengthy series of updates on the official Dragon Con website letting attendees know what will happen next. Guests who registered to attend the 2020 convention have the option to either request refunds by August 1 or automatically roll over their membership to the 2021 convention, complete with a souvenir 2020 badge and an exclusive gift that will be shipped this fall. Merchandise for the 2020 event will still go on sale at some point, and a free virtual convention will take place over Labor Day weekend, complete with events that "showcase [fans'] amazing creativity," which suggests that Dragon Con's famous cosplay showcases will live on in some form.
Dragon Con joins a long list of conventions, beginning with Emerald City in the fall, that have since been cancelled, postponed, or shifted to virtual events due to COVID-19. While some fall conventions, including New York Comic Con, have not yet announced scheduling changes, the pandemic continues to make large gatherings dangerous propositions, as numerous states have hit record high case counts in recent weeks.
We'll keep you posted on Dragon Con 2020's virtual schedule.