Geek-out to help out

Geek Gala returns to Blind Bob’s

Harry Potter fans will be just one of the geek legions represented at the Geek Gala. Photo: Larry Peck

By Megan Garrison

Have you ever wanted to go to a comic con but just couldn’t find the time? Perhaps you have the perfect costume, but Halloween is so far away? Or maybe there is this overwhelming desire to geek out with your friends, but you want to still get that feeling of going out to the bars on a Saturday night?

The Geek Gala might just be the perfect Dayton event for you. Coming up on its second year, the idea originated from Josh Lumpkin, a neonatal nurse that had high hopes for helping the children in our community.

“I dreamed up Geek Gala all by myself,” said Lumpkin. “I wanted to do something that would be productive and helpful to children in need in our community. Although I kind of tie the whole thing together, there is no way I could do everything by myself. I’m incredibly grateful to have so many people helping me. Some of my best friends help to make sure Geek Gala goes smoothly.”

And there is no doubt he has a solid support group when it comes the planning and development of the benefit. And who are these key players? Well, there is Kristy Kremer at Dayton Children’s, and Nate and Andy from Blind Bob’s, where the event is held. Shelby White, with her design work and manning of the raffle table, alongside Scott Bradley from Through the Ages Fabric handling the costume contest, and Bri from Absolute/Jameson, and Rachel from Tito’s Vodka. Public Relations manned by Dave Obenour and a stellar decorating committee of Rachael Leare, Tracey Obenour, Shelby, and Adam Hake.

“And of course, I couldn’t do it without my beautiful wife, Jenner, who helps with promotion, tabling, and generally not murdering me for creating this whole bonkers Frankenstein,” said Lumpkin.

This year the costumes were introduced as a way to keep the flow of the dance party going and to allow for comic and gaming convention enthusiast to try on their heavier outfits that they can’t wear in the summer.

“I wanted to have a costume contest this year because it’s something fun to do without killing the music and vibe of the event,” explained Lumpkin. “Last year, we had comedians, which was fun, but turning the music down mid-party and being like, ‘Okay, now listen to these dudes talk for 40 minutes,’ just wasn’t conducive to keeping the energy of a dance party going. A costume contest seemed like a good idea because it would up the caliber of the cosplay at Geek Gala, but also because there would still be music going and stuff. So, Gala-goers can pay as much attention to it as they want, while still dancing and partying.”

And maybe you aren’t the dancing type but that just means you have more of a chance to explore the many gaming consoles that will be set up. While last year the most common game was Super Mario 3, but with the addition of virtual reality that could change.

“We will have our buddy Ron Martin from Nintendo of America on site bringing a Nintendo Switch to show off some of the latest games for that system,” said Lumpkin. “We will also have some classic consoles around.”

The best part of the event might possibly be the great prizes offered through the raffle. Prizes which include: a gift certificate to Maverick’s Cards and Comics and a stack of comics by Dayton’s Sparkle Comics, Funko Pops, and two Star Trek dolls from Game Swap. Locally made crafts from Squid Pro Quo, This Nerdy Home, Jennifer Bishop, and Book of Holding, Zelda Yahtzee, and a $25 gift certificate to No Limit Gaming, Omega Music donated a turntable, a $100 tattoo gift certificate from Rachael Lare of Wells & Co. Custom Tattoo, and a Tito’s Vodka guitar. But these are just the teasers.

“And big thanks to Bell Book & Comic, The Bookery, Proto Buildbar, and many others for donating prizes, too!” This list is in no way comprehensive as more prizes continue to arrive.

The gala isn’t just for the games and fun, its ultimate goal is to donate to the Dayton Children’s Hospital through the raffle money and attendance to the event. A noble cause no doubt that was made impactful by last year’s proceeds of $2,295. So make sure you bring cash money to spend on a chance to win some amazing prizes and donate to an excellent organization.

“I was absolutely blown away by that amount,” said Lumpkin. “This year, I have set my sights high. I would like to raise $3000. I am not sure if that’s possible, but I’m determined to try my hardest!”

The question is: are you “geek” enough to join?

“…to me a geek is just a super fan or someone who gets really into one thing,” said Lumpkin. “This could be traditional geek culture items: Star Trek/Wars, LOTR, Dr. Who, video games, comics, D&D, etc., but also includes people who dive deeply into academic or other pursuits.”

The Legend of the Geek Gala will take play Saturday, Feb. 17 starting at 7 p.m. at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. 5th St. Dayton. $5 cover for anyone in costume and $10 for everyone else. If you can’t make it, you can donate to Dayton Children’s Hospital here:

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Megan Garrison grew up in the small town of Lampasas, Texas, spending her time immersed in Ernest Hemingway novels and dreaming of being a journalist one day. Now she attends the University of Dayton and is hard at work studying to be a war-time correspondent. Though she is very goal oriented and works hard to achieve her dreams she also loves to have a little fun. She DJs her own radio show on Flyer Radio and makes it a point to attend great movies and local concerts. But her greatest love will always be books.

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