ATLANTA -- Dragon*Con 2012 brought around 50,000 sci-fi fans to downtown Atlanta on Saturday.

Dragon*Con was a fantasy day for lovers of sci-fi, anime and some classic works. Many fans dressed in extravagant costumes to replicate their favorite characters, while others came out to experience Dragon*Con for the first time.

On Saturday morning, a parade kicked off the day while celebrities were on site during the afternoon. Dragon*Con also included workshops, exhibits, shopping, shows, contests and special events.

According to Event Volunteer Mark Weiner, Dragon*Con has grown since last year. He said roughly 46,000 attended on last year's parade day, and attendance was up 13 percent for 2012. He estimated some 50,000 spectators and participants as of Saturday evening.

"Friday was also nuts," Weiner said, "and it's typically not as crowded as today has been."

According to some of those fans, the costumes are the best part. Lexington, North Carolina native Tiffany Barron dressed as Captain Culter from "Scooby Doo." She said she enjoys how friendly everyone at Dragon*Con is.

"We like getting to hang out with people who are into the same thing we are," Barron said. "With all the authors and bands, you can just chit chat with anyone."

Atlanta's Valerie Schwartz was decked out as Little Red Riding Hood. According to Schwartz, Dragon*Con allows fans to meet people with like minds. She said you could tell that someone has similar interests based on their costumes.

A "The Ren and Stimpy Show, Space Madness" costume was worn by Chris Brown of Atlanta.

"This is my favorite thing to do," Brown said. "I love a new challenge, learning materials and wearing obscure costumes."

Amberle Linnea of Charlotte dressed up as Female Loki from "Thor." For Linnea, Dragon*Con is about an opportunity to escape and be someone else.

"I'm surrounded by people who love the genres and to see other interpretations, everything from sci-fi to Steam Punk."

Other than costumers, some other Dragon*Con goers like the celebrities. According to Weiner, the celebrities have assistants to handle memorabilia and to represent them. Richard Dean Anderson's assistant, Paul Brown represents him at other Cons just like Dragon*Con. The Cons are busy events, with responsibilities for managers, assistants, security and directors.

"Paul Brown holds photo opps, and stands with Richard Dean Anderson to help manage him," Weiner said.

Dragon*Con attendee Daniel Domenzain spoke of his favorite celebrity group, the actors from HBO's "True Blood" series. He was excited to see them, but missed the chance for any photos because of the packed house.

Domenzain said, "I didn't get to meet the actors of "True Blood" because the line was too long."

According to Dragon*Con officials, they like to keep things moving because of an overwhelming number of people who come out for the events. They said the people, things to see and costumes bring in a crowd that requires strict operations, regulations and around 1,800 volunteers.

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