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Seven Things Not to Miss at StarFest 2019

Live long and prosper, StarFest.
Live long and prosper, StarFest.
Danielle Lirette
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StarFest 2019 is invading the Marriott Denver Tech Center April 27-28, and there’s plenty of fun to be had. Starting back in 1977 — a magical year that saw both Star Wars and StarFest bursting onto the scene, sci-fi style — StarFest has been thrilling fans and inspiring new generations of creative folks who both make and enjoy the nerdish arts for over four decades. There’s almost too much to do at StarFest…so here are seven suggestions for things you don’t want to miss at the 2019 incarnation of one of Denver’s favorite fan weekends.

The inimitable Shatner, doing it all for the fans.EXPAND
The inimitable Shatner, doing it all for the fans.
Paula R. Lively at Flickr

The Shatner
The inimitable William Shatner is a legend — of both nerd-dom and modern pop culture — who makes his way to Denver every so often to avail himself of the complete adoration of his rabid fan base and to breathe in the air at a mile high. But mainly the former: Shatner is all about the love. And you can share it with him at his Q&A on Saturday and his photo and autograph sessions Sunday.

Nichelle Nichols, just as inimitable.EXPAND
Nichelle Nichols, just as inimitable.
Gage Skidmore at Flickr

Nichelle Nichols
Speaking of Star Trek (yes, we did just get through a whole Shatner-graph without mentioning his seminal role as Captain Kirk), the supporting cast members of the show are just as legendary...though their ranks are thinning. StarFest 2019 marks the last appearance of Nichelle “Lt. Uhura” Nichols in Denver before her retirement. Considering that even the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was counted among her fans (he purportedly asked her not to quit the show because she was a positive role model for young African-American women), it’s more than worth showing up to see her one more time at this special farewell event.

The Ambiguously Gay Duo looks ready for the Federation Ball.
The Ambiguously Gay Duo looks ready for the Federation Ball.
Javid Rezvani

More and more, cosplay is taking a bigger role at conventions in general and StarFest specifically. It’s part geekery, part artistic expression and part admiration society — and in that, it’s all good stuff. Whether you show up to marvel at the creativity of others or like being marveled at yourself, there’s solid cosplay fun to be had. Just remember: Cosplay is not consent, and there are real people behind those masks and costumes. The key word is respect: Show it.

HorrorFest Is Back
After taking a year off from StarFest, that part of the convention devoted to the best in fear, gore, special effects and all things involving machetes makes a triumphant return to the lineup. Now revamped and ready to go, HorrorFest will celebrate the things that make your skin crawl…and make you like it. Get ready for the screams, kids.

The Federation Ball
Despite the moniker, this isn’t just about Star Trek. It may have started that way, but today the Federation Ball invites boogieing of all sorts, by all types. Want to do the robot as a robot? Then activate. Want to dress up as Wonder Woman and see if you can find your Amazonian mate? The dance floor could be your own Paradise Island. Want to get out there as a Bronie? Go for it, My Little Ponies! Whatever floats your geeky boat: As long as you’re dancing, you’re doing it right.

Roll ’em if you got ’em.EXPAND
Roll ’em if you got ’em.
Benjamin Esham at Flickr

Roll the dice — any dice! Games of all sorts are scheduled to be played, with friends you bring or new friends you meet. From board games like Betrayal or House on the Hill to role-playing with Dungeon Crawl Classics, you won’t be able to roll a twenty-sider without hitting a table ready to game with you.

Panel rule: One guy on stage must be wearing a hat.
Panel rule: One guy on stage must be wearing a hat.
Miia Sample at Flickr

Panels, Panels, Panels
Every conference has panels, and StarFest is no exception. But the sheer scope of StarFest makes for a very diverse set of panels. Choose from comics, monsters, cosplay, pure science, robots, horror, animation, gaming, even how to recover from bullying behavior in the real world. There's a panoply of panels just waiting for nerds who want to celebrate everything it means to be one of the fellowship.

Ready to blast off? Head to the Denver Marriott Tech Center, 4900 South Syracuse, through Sunday, April 28. Get more information on the StarFest website.

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