Saturday, August 10, 2013

Interview about Geekfest 2013

By Chris McGinty (

Nathan and I have been watching for conventions and other sci-fi and Anime themed shows to sell at, and that is how we found out about Geekfest 2013 in Killeen, Texas, which will run on August 16-18, 2013. I asked for an interview and received a speedy reply from Barbara Merlo, Director of Marketing and Outreach. 

ATW: How did Geekfest start?

Barbara: One of our student ambassadors, Jennifer Hetzel (who is now an employee and one of our three primary event POCs) came up with the idea of doing something related to sci-fi.  She teamed up with Fred Chavez (another of the three), our planetarium director and they brainstormed. I joined the team to try to figure out how we could maximize the money-making effort and Geekfest was born!  We added a few members to our planning committee and started working on vendors and volunteer presenters and we were on our way.

ATW: How many years has Geekfest been running?

Barbara: This will be the fourth year!

ATW: Before we get into what Geekfest 2013 offers, can you tell me a little about Central Texas College in Killeen Texas?

Barbara: We are a public, accredited community college with about 13,000 students in Texas, but more than 70,000 around the world.  We are located across the street from Ft Hood, so many of our local students have some affiliation with the military. In addition, we operate on military installations worldwide and ships at sea.

ATW: Your website says that proceeds from Geekfest 2013 go to the CTC Student Ambassador Program. Can you tell us about the program?

Barbara: Our student ambassadors provide tours of our campus and do outreach in our local schools. They go to middle schools and tell their college story, which often includes barriers and bumps along the way, so that all our local youth see college as attainable. All are students, and the funds raised help compensate them for their time so that they can focus on school and not have to get other jobs.

ATW: Please tell us a little bit about Geek Fest 2013.

Barbara: We will have many flavors of Geek! 

Our programs and guests will feature costuming clubs, along with programs on all types of gaming, anime, Steampunk, special effects, comics, Cosplay, Brony panels, live podcasts, kids programs like Robotics, tons of Harry Potter programs for adults and kids (including Quidditch) and a Humans vs Zombies game. Most programs are free, however we do have a wristband for admission to movies in our 60’ dome, to watch our video game tournaments, and select other programs.

We will host our annual screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show on both Friday and Saturday night—featuring the Queerios shadow cast on Friday and a local shadow cast on Saturday.  We will also show the classic sci-fi flick “The Fifth Element” on Saturday.

Being in a military community, we focus on a wide variety of programs—but our favorite part of Geekfest is watching parents introduce their kids to the world of Geek! We try to have kids programming during the day, and this year we are excited about a Dungeons and Dragons for kids program!

We will hold our annual “Humans vs. Zombies” game, this year with a pirate theme, on Saturday morning.

Our vendor area will be in a separate building, along with food and entertainment. We hope to keep the day full of demos and music in that area.  We will accept vendors up until July 26 and programs up until August 2.  Vendor spaces are $100, and half can be paid with merchandise or services. We will be holding prize drawings during the event—tickets to win will be issued with wristbands, and additional tickets may be purchased.

For more info, follow us on facebook at or check out our website at