Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Orlando Nerd Fest was a five day event held at the Orlando Airport Marriott (7499 Augusta National Dr, Orlando, Fl) from August 7th to August 17th.. It is apparently the biggest and best annual multi-day nerd party! It is part music festival, part family reunion, and all fun! Dr. Vern one of Orlando Nerd Fest's founders, issued me a press pass for the entire event. There was free parking in an empty field behind the hotel. The dirt road had a large mud puddle at one point. I'm glad I didn't part near that puddle, because cars that did got a serious splattering.
When I got to the entrance, I met Wendy Wallenburg and Brian Minnich, the photographer she represents. Like me Brian has an eye for anything out of the ordinary. Nerd Fest offered that in spades. People casually wandered the hotel halls in cosplay costumes. They sat on the floor playing some sort of role play card game. With so many sketch opportunities I felt a bit overwhelmed. I just needed to start a sketch and accept that I couldn't see it all at once.
Wendy became obsessed with winning the Ms. Pack Man arcade game. Since she was so focused, I decided to sketch the game in progress. Periodically guys would come over to coach. One guy stepped in to show her how it is done and he got a much higher score and dared her to beat it. That caused her to become even more obsessed. The Star Trek pin ball machine to her right broke down and the vendor pried it open to get at all the servos and electrical guts of the machine. In about a half hour he had it back up and running. I tried my hand at playing Ms. Pac Man once Wendy gave up. I would flick the joy stick hard left or hard right but my reflexes just weren't quick enough. It's an infuriating game and it was game over all too soon. I felt like a bit of an outsider at Nerd Fest, but I suppose any true nerd would feel that way.