Dragon Con was founded in 1987 by a local science fiction and gaming group, the Dragon Alliance of Gamers and Role-Players. The name “Dragon” for the group and the convention was derived from Dragon Computer owned by Ed Kramer, one of the organizers. Kramer’s computer hosted a bulletin board system that served as a central hub for the club and Dragon Con.
The inaugural Dragon Con was attended by 1400 fans. Among guests of honor were writers Michael Moorcock, Robert Asprin, Lynn Abbey, Brad Strickland and Robert Adams, video game developer and entrepreneur Richard Garriott, and co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons Gary Gygax.
The inaugural convention was a success. In 1989, its attendance doubled, and the event moved to another venue to accommodate its attendees better. At Dragon Con’s 20th anniversary in 2007, it drew 22,000 attendees. The convention continued to grow rapidly, drawing 57,000 attendees in 2013.
Over the years, Dragon Con hosted smaller pop culture and science fiction events such as Wizard Fan Awards (presented by the Wizard magazine for works of distinction within the comic book industry), the North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC) and the STARFLEET International Conference (an annual business conference for members of the International Star Trek Fan Association).
In 1998, Dragon Con established the Julie Award given for universal achievement spanning multiple genres. It was named in honor of Julius Schwartz, a science fiction agent and a comic book editor. The first recipient was prominent science fiction and fantasy author Ray Bradbury.
Dragon Con lasts four days, Friday through Sunday. Its programming includes numerous panels, seminars, demonstrations and workshops dedicated to a wide array of pop culture-related topis such as creative writing, alternative history, art, animation, games, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, anime and manga, cosplay, space, science, online media, independent cinema, podcasts, robotics, scientific skepticism, etc.