By Danielle Church
Killeen Daily Herald
While some Central Texas residents spent Saturday afternoon cleaning out their garage or sitting by the pool, others entered a world of fantasy and gaming at the Mayborn Planetarium and Space Theater in Killeen.
Central Texas College’s second annual GeekFest kicked off a celebration of all things nerdy, and included everything from anime to technology and science fiction.
“People watching is fantastic,” said Pati Thomas, office assistant for CTC’s continuing education, one of the event’s many sponsors.
Thomas camped out at the entrance of the planetarium to greet festival attendees, and probably had one of the best seats in the house as droves of costume-clad fanatics walked through the doorway with their wardrobes on display for everyone to see.
Captain Lazuli Delacru stood around in the main lobby fully decked out in costume. He said he is a member of the Airship Isabella production company, which according to its website, is a group of artists, performers and visionaries who come together to create characters that explore the boundaries of the Steampunk community — a genre of science fiction, fantasy and alternate history. This was the group’s first time attending GeekFest.
“We like it, it’s a neat little con,” he said. “Even compared to some of the bigger events (we’ve been to), it’s got a lot more attendance.”
Barbara Merlo, marketing director at CTC, said the two-day festival has continuously drawn an enormous crowd. But because there are no entrance fees at the door, she said it’s hard to keep track of exactly how many people have been walking in and out.
“If I had to guess, I’d say last night we had around 750 (people); today I’m sure we’ll have 1,500,” she said.
Saturday’s events included everything from a “geeky” yard sale to a robotics demo and was geared toward the entire family.
Killeen resident Mary Wiley and her 11-year-old son, James, came to the festival after seeing it advertised. The two participated in “WeDo Robotics,” an introduction to robotics and programming using Lego robotic resources geared toward grades 1-5.
“They’re building robots,” she said, explaining that her son is very into computers and robotics.
Prior to attending the class, James entered a gaming tournament where he played Mario Cart.
“I was pretty good in the preliminary and lost in the final tournament,” he said.
By 2 p.m., GeekFest was in full swing with the first-ever CTC Humans vs. Zombies competition. Participants met in a lecture hall to be prepped on the do’s and don’ts of the game prior to starting.
Fred Chavez, director of the planetarium, motivated the room full of players telling them to “be the best zombie you can be,” before setting them loose.
Contestants had seven missions to complete and the choice of using a nerf gun or sock as protection from the zombies.
Additional attractions at Saturday’s event included seminars and workshops, a costume contest, cake contest, a Scion car show, silent auction and film festival.