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Labor Day events feature everything from Jedi to jazz

DragonCon

A thousand nations of the Nerdian empire descend upon you. Their geekiness will blot out the sun.

Madness? This is DragonCon!

Yes, it's time for the Seth Cohens and Comic Book Guys of the world to emerge from the air-conditioned comfort of their parents' basements and shamble forth into the sunlight, giddy as prepubescent schoolchildren and dressed as everything from Spock to Spider-Man. This weekend, the city is their playground.

DragonCon, now in its 20th year, is one of America's largest geek gatherings, second in attendance only to San Diego's Comic-Con International. This year's festival runs today through Monday in Atlanta.

The event spans three downtown hotels - the Hyatt Regency, Marriot Marquis and the Hilton. More than 400 sci-fi guests from the worlds of comics, film and television will be in attendance, including Hitchcock ingenue Tippi Hedren ("The Birds"), "Star Trek: The Next Generation" crew mates Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner and actor James Marsters (fan favorite Spike from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer").

For more information, visit www.dragoncon.org.

- Staff writer Chase Mitchell

Decatur Book Festival

This Labor Day weekend is sure to be a page-turner, thanks to the Decatur Book Festival. Held today through Sunday, the festival will feature dozens of local and national authors, book sales and signings, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, food samplings, live music and family activities.

Charles Frazier, author of "Cold Mountain" and "Thirteen Moons," and author, humorist and singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman will serve as keynote speakers. Spread throughout Decatur's downtown square, the festival will have stages set up at various locations, including the Old Courthouse and Eddie's Attic.

Admission to the festival is free and open to the public. For more information and complete schedules, visit www.decaturbookfestival.com.

- Staff writer Anna Ferguson

Monteaux Jazz Festival

The Montreux Jazz Festival may have originated in Switzerland, but its toe-tapping sounds will be filling the metro area this weekend.

Jazz, funk, R&B and blues will be featured throughout the four-day event, kicking off with the Blues, Bourbon and Barbeque Boat Ride in Stone Mountain Park. The ride will feature music from sultry Atlanta blues favorite Lola and her band, as well as dinner and mint juleps.

The festival will continue at various locations near Underground Atlanta with performances from songwriter/vocalist Chrisette Michele, Radio Disney stars Jacob Latimore, Kacie Lynch and Dylan Cheek and retro-funk/hip-hop vocalist Sleepy Brown, among others.

The free festival will be held today through Sunday. Admission to the Blues, Bourbon and Barbeque Boat Ride is $50. The ride will be held at 8 p.m. at Stone Mountain Park, located off exit 8 on U.S. Highway 78 East in Stone Mountain. For more information, visit www.underground-atlanta.com or www.atlantafestivals.com.

- Staff writer Anna Ferguson