Sunday was the final day of GeekFest, and while the day was shorter in comparison to Saturday, there was no shortage of fun for attendees.
The day’s activities included gaming tournaments, meet-and-greets with VIP guests Preston Corbel and Carl Martin, and discussions and panels on a variety of topics. Prominent among the discussion topics on both Saturday and Sunday was Steampunk.
Steampunk is a movement that blends elements of the Victorian era and science fiction. The author Jules Verne is referenced heavily, as his books embody many of the elements of the Steampunk genre; in the movie “Wild Wild West,” one can see elements of the Wild West/Victorian era and science fiction/technology coming together. According to Jim Trent of the Central Texas Steampunk Society, in his discussion “Steampunk 101,” Steampunk is set in a timeline encompassing the years 1800-1905; he described it as a “constantly evolving genre.”
Randy Briggs, of Killeen, said what she really likes about Steampunk is “it’s very versatile. It has steam power, weaponry, time travel. ... Jim Trent asks the question, ‘Does he character make the costume, or do the props make the character?’ For me, the props made my character. Because I craft, I’m always adding to my character.”
Briggs makes the Steampunk costumes and the props (such as goggles, guns, holsters, leather work) for herself and her family. She said Steampunk’s versatility allows her to continue to create.
And because much of Steampunk’s costume creation involves clothing modification, creating the costumes and props is relatively inexpensive, allowing her creativity to go in pretty much any direction.
“The world of Steampunk is so open. You can be anything you want — an alchemist, a wizard, a space pirate — you can create anything you want,” Briggs said.
Saturday and Sunday both also featured a lot of Harry Potter activities, beginning with the Hogwarts Common Room, which Harker Heights Public Library Director Lisa Youngblood and her staff and volunteers had turned into a cozy hangout in the Planetarium. It had a sofa, armchairs, a fireplace and house banners, and was the perfect place for the many book discussions and games that took place in its confines.
One of those games, Muggles to Muggles, was created by Youngblood’s daughters, Sheridan and Shelby. Very loosely based on the game Apples to Apples, Sheridan Youngblood described the game as “Family friendly, something all ages can enjoy. ... We don’t win for prizes, we win for glory and bragging rights.”
The most notable of the activities was “Build-A-Beast,” led by Lisa Youngblood. “Build-A-Beast has been very popular this year,” Youngblood said.
Children and adults alike had a choice of two beasts they could craft: a book beast (a book cover with eyes, hair, and teeth made of various fabrics and other items) or a Bowtruckle (a stick-like figure from the Fantastic Beast series, which everyone made from pipe cleaners and other craft items).
Charles Galluppo, 15, of Fort Hood, made a leopard book beast, literally, with leopard-print fabric, a tail and gold teeth. His friend, 16-year-old Hayleigh Walker, was making a purple-fabric monster with beaded teeth.
Eight-year-old Samuel Gooch, of Lampasas, made a Bowtruckle, as he had made a book beast last year.
Overall, GeekFest once again had a successful year. In terms of attendance, program coordinator Barbara Merlo said, “I’m figuring close to 2,000,” though that was an estimate as exact numbers weren’t available.
Merlo credited her staff, especially support staff such as maintenance and custodial services, and volunteers for everything running smoothly.
There were so many activities taking place during GeekFest, when asked about highlights of the event, Merlo said she believed most people would say the cosplay contest with Cynthia Lee would be their pick. She, however, had a different take.
“I really think it’s about people meeting other people, and learning new things,” Merlo said.
“I’m glad to have this many community people come out here and raise money for scholarships,” she concluded.