A beginners guide to Dragcon LA

If going to RuPaul’s Drag Con isn’t on your bucket list, it should be. This is not just a (now) biannual event, this is an experience you don’t want to miss. Being at the convention feels like a celebration of drag, acceptance, love, and life itself.

There is so much to see and do besides meeting your favorite queens. There’s a runway with performances and contests the audience can usually partake in. These are hosted by some of the most popular queens.

Tons of vendors related to the LGBTQ and drag scene are there. Panels are going on most of the days Saturday and Sunday with topics ranging from video games to tucking to relationships. Now with Drag Con happening in both Los Angeles and New York City, there’s even more to explore in the surrounding areas outside the convention centers as well.

It can get quite overwhelming! If possible, go the day before to register. Not only does this save you time during the convention itself, but you get a book with all the information you need to know.

There’s a map and a list of all the queens booth numbers. There’s also a schedule for the runway and the panels. This will really help you plan your days. Also, keep an eye on the queens social media since this is the main platform they use to let you know their meet and greet times.

Even with three days, you probably won’t get to do everything you want. You need to decide what’s important to you and make those things your priority.

The VIP tickets can be expensive but for me, it was worth it. You do get a lot of merchandise included as well as being able to go earlier than general admission all 3 days. Friday was especially great because you got to go 2 hours earlier. The convention wasn’t crowded and it was prime time to take advantage of short lines. Most queens had VIP meet and greet lines. These lines moved so much faster than having to wait in the general admission line to meet them.

This is really what made VIP worth it for me. I got to meet so many more people than when I did general admission for NYC last year. For queens without VIP specific lines, or if you have general admission, be prepared to potentially wait awhile.

Friday, the energy was exhilarating, with everyone being excited about the first day of Drag Con. Trixie Mattel did a live performance on the runway during VIP hours. For a Trixie fan, this definitely made the VIP ticket worthwhile. Her performance was witty yet moving and I didn’t expect anything less from the skinny legend herself.

I, personally, also got to meet a lot of legends on Friday like the one and only Michelle Visage, Jinkx Monsoon, Sharon Needles, Ginger Minj, Miz Cracker, and Sasha Velour. Preview night did not disappoint!

Saturday morning when VIP ticket holders were let into the convention hall, we were directed to the pink carpet. We were able to see RuPaul and some of the queens partake in the ribbon-cutting ceremony. From there I made a beeline to Bianca Del Rio’s booth to get her new book and get it signed. She was one of the nicest queens I’ve met (but don’t tell her I said that).

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The line was massive but worth the wait. I then headed for Trixie Mattel, another massive line, but I was prepared for that. I loved her Camp Drag Con booth.

The only panel I got to attend on Saturday was Music Mavens, with Alaska, Brett McLaughlin, Ellis Miah, Jinkx Monsoon, and Seth Bogart. The panel was a lot of fun and another perk of VIP is getting to go in first which means a guaranteed seat in the front. I ended the day meeting the beautiful Violet Chachki.

With Sunday being the last day I was prepared to run around and meet as many queens as I could (another tip, wear or bring comfortable shoes because the convention halls are massive!). I got on as many lines as possible and met some of my favorite season 10 queens, like Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Aquaria, Dusty Ray Bottoms, and Miz Cracker (again!). I also met the infamous Alyssa Edwards, Trinity Taylor, Naomi Smalls, and the Haus of Aja.

Truly every queen I met, and the hard-working staff at the booths, were extremely friendly and nice and made you feel welcome. Before heading to Rupaul’s keynote speech, I checked out the Werkroom. Every diehard fan of the show should at least step foot in the Werkroom if given the chance! Rupaul’s keynote is not something you want to miss. The energy in the room was electric and the speech Ru gave was inspiring and enlightening to say the least.

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There’s no better way to end the weekend by walking out feeling moved, empowered, and a better person than when you walked in.

Written and Contributed by Jess

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