Geek Pavilion 2.0 comes to the Denver County Fair

Dana Cain has been involved in fandom since she first came to Denver, so it's no surprise that in her capacity as director of the Denver County Fair, she went geeky. Last year, she launched the Geek Pavilion, making Denver's fair "the only county fair in the world with a Geek Pavilion," as she bragged last year. And the Geek Pavilion will return to this year's fair, which runs from August 9 through August 11 at the National Western Complex, bringing along old favorites along with a whole slew of new, nerdy attractions. To find out what Denver's geeks and geek-curious have in store, we caught up with Cain to talk about the Geek Pavilion and how she's improved version 2.0.

See also: - Denver County Fair Geek Pavilion: "Stormtroopers, zombies, steampunks ... it's going to be pretty dang cool" - The ten best geek events in Denver in August - Local filmmakers tackle zombie culture with Doc of the Dead

Westword: This is the second year of the Geek Pavilion, right?

Dana Cain: This is year two for the Geek Pavilion, yes. Year three for the fair.

How did it do last year? Were people excited about the Geek Pavilion?

Oh, they loved it. It was one of the most active, exciting places at the fair. It was a huge hit. There were people in it all the time. It was great.

What did you learn from last year's Geek Pavilion that you've rolled into this year?

One of the things that we did is we had such great things on the stage, but the geek stage was kind of back against the wall so some of the things that were there that were so amazing were sort of ... you kind of had to go look for the stage. So this year we have moved the stage to the middle of the pavilion. So it's kind of right out in the middle. I'm really excited about that. I think it's just going to add this whole new dynamic and the whole pavilion is going to be activated by that as the centerpiece. The spelling bees and the circuit-bending and the robot opera and all that stuff is going to be right in the middle of the pavilion.

So it'll be a little harder to miss this time?

Yeah. Virtually impossible to miss. Who wants to miss robot opera? I actually missed it last year. So I get a chance to see it this year.

On that note, what are the returning attractions from last year to this year?

Well, we've got the spelling bee. We've got the maybe half the vendors returned, and half are new, so that's exciting. Maybe it's two-thirds returned.... Speed texting is back. The Scrabble tournament is back. Gamma Two Robotics is back doing robot demos and patrols. Robot opera is back with a new robot opera. Those are the returning things. Oh, and Stan Yan zombicatures are back and the Stormtroopers are back.

What about some of the new stuff?

This year we've added one whole booth for R2 units. There are people in Colorado who make their own R2-D2s and so we've got one whole booth of functioning, homemade, operational R2-D2 units and other Star Wars robots. This year we've also got Affinity Gaming Black Hawk sponsoring; in the gaming area they're doing a big poker tournament, which is sort of geeky but it's a different kind of geeky, so that's kind of cool.

The Colorado Steampunks are back, but this year they're doing something that's just painfully nerdy. They're doing this thing called "tea dueling." So it's blue-ribbon tea dueling: You get two people and they're competing and they have a cup of tea and a cracker. They dip it in the cracker until they're told to remove it, and [whatever craker] doesn't disintegrate first... does that make any sense? I think they're trying to eat the biscuit before it falls apart or something. It's all for the blue ribbon, so it's all legit.

We have a circuit-bending performance by Jane DaPain, that's new. We have Rainbowdragoneyes, he does an 8-bit chiptune black-metal band. Andrew Novick booked them, and I'm just going to have to go check it out because I'm not sure I know what's it going to be, but I know it's going to be super-cool. Then, all day Sunday -- technically, this is in the Art Pavilion, but it's kind of by the Geek Pavilion -- is something called Space Palette. It was a huge hit at Burning Man and it's an interactive art and music thing. It's really nerdy. You put your hand through this thing, you move your hands and it creates all original music and sound and light in the tent. It's going to be super cool.

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato

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