Calling all geeks

Boonshoft’s second annual GeekFest

By Josher Lumpkin

Readers of Dayton City Paper are sure to know that the Gem City is full of people who self-identify as “geeks.” This may include gamers (of the video, board and card varieties), comic book enthusiasts, people who enjoy dressing up as Star Wars characters, Trekkies, role players, folks who geek out over science and every other niche activity that you can think of.  Dayton has always been a city of eccentric innovators and creators on the cutting edge.

GeekFest, this Friday at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, is a chance for geeks of all stripes, of all ages and from all facets of nerdom to strut their beautiful and strange geek plumage for all to see.

“GeekFest is kind of like a comic con, but it’s Boonshoft’s variation on it, so it is very family-friendly,” says Jason Heaton, Assistant Director of Astronomy at Boonshoft, and organizer of the GeekFest event.

This year will be the second ever GeekFest, and Heaton says that if it’s anything like last year’s event, it’s sure to be a great time.

“We had a lot of people and families dress up in costume.  We had multiple different things,” Heaton says.

This year, visitors can expect even more, as the museum will be packed wall-to-wall with delectable activities that will get your geek mind tingling.

“For the evening of GeekFest, we leave the planetarium doors open so people can come in and go out, and we’re doing some unique things in there,” Heaton says.  “We will have a Kinect hooked up, so that you can play XBox on the dome, and we’ll be having people dance to the Star Wars Kinect dance game.  You have to follow the dance moves of the Storm Troopers or Princess Leia.  It’s fun.”

And that’s just one half of the planetarium.

“No Limit Gaming will also be providing a Wii U, so that, while XBox is going on at the front of the dome, other people can play on the back of the dome,” Heaton says.

Not a video gamer?  That’s okay!  Visitors will also have a chance to flex the muscles deep within their nerd brains to show off their vast knowledge of popular culture.

“Another thing that we’re doing in the planetarium that is unique is Jeopardy!” Heaton continues. “We make our own questions, and actually project what looks like the entire game of Jeopardy! on the dome.  It was quite a big hit last year. We do general geek questions, with Star Wars and board games, and things like that, and then we have, later on in the evening, just science fiction, so a whole lot of Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy that’s more difficult questions, all related to science fiction, specifically.”

For those would-be role players, who aspire to raid dungeons for loot and glory, but don’t have the time or skill to commit to a six-hour gaming session every week, look no further than GeekFest to scratch your itch.

“Orc and Pie is a five-minute Dungeons and Dragons experience, where there’s actually someone dressed as an orc, and he has a real pie behind him,” Heaton explains. “And it’s like a giant board game. Like, imagine a big chess set, and you have to use a large 20-sided die to get to the pie and steal it, but you’re also playing out a character, so you have to use your brain to get the pie.”

In addition to the activities listed above, there will be many more things going on, including a board game room, a Super Smash Brothers tournament, tons of local vendors showing off and selling their wares, and the possibility of winning free stuff.

“Almost all of the vendors that will be coming this year have supplied us with at least one door prize from their own personal place,” Heaton says.  “It could be anything, such as a dragon miniature that somebody hand-made, or it could be our Darth Vader toaster, which is a toaster shaped like Darth Vader’s head that actually pops out toast that says ‘Star Wars’ on it.  So we’ll be giving those away throughout the evening.  There will probably be at least 20 to 25 of those door prizes.”

Heaton says that if this year’s GeekFest is anything like last year’s, it would be a good idea to register for the event.

“I would recommend registering in advance,” he says. “Last year, we did have a lot of people and we had a line out the door.  So if you register in advance, you get to just go through the short line, and you don’t have to go through the process of filling out any paperwork.”

But most of all, Heaton just wants your whole family to come and have a great time.

“You know,” Heaton tells us, “if you enjoy anything geek, there will be something there for you.”

GeekFest takes place at 6 p.m. Friday, April 29 at Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, 2600 Deweese Parkway in Dayton. Registration is $10 per person, children under 2 are free.  For more information, please visit

Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at

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Josher Lumpkin is a nursing student and aspiring historian who enjoys writing about music and geekdom of all kinds. He is especially fond of punk rock, tabletop gaming, sci-fi/fantasy and camping with his wife, Jenner, and their dogs, Katie and Sophie. Reach him at

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