I went to my first Star Trek Convention this past weekend, held at the Las Vegas Hilton. Let me state for the record that while I enjoy watching Star Trek on occasion, I’m not a “Trekkie“; I was simply curious to see what one of these things was like.
If you have a preconceived notion of what a Star Trek convention might be like, you are probably right—I was. There were people walking around in costumes (although fewer than I was expecting), theaters set up for presentations, an autograph area, and a vendors’ area.
One theater was smallish and seemed to be geared towards the hard-core Trek fans, and the other held several thousand people and offered multimedia presentations and appearances by cast members from the various Star Trek series. I spent about 90 minutes in the large theater, catching the tail end of a presentation on a forthcoming DVD re-issue of the original series, and a question-and-answer session with Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner, two central cast members from “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Predictably these two got a rock-star’s reception, and spent most of their time telling jokes and bantering back and forth.
The vendors’ area had two or three dozen different booths, all selling pretty much what you’d expect—Star Trek memorabilia, artwork, toys and the like. There was also a healthy dose of Star Wars items, which I was a little surprised about as I had thought hard-core Trek fans looked down on Star Wars (and vice versa).
One of the highlights of the convention was meeting Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on the “Next Generation” series. While other cast members required a special ticket to meet and get an autograph, I was surprised to run across a small table in the vendors’ area where he was sitting, selling personally-autographed copies of his new book and spending as much time talking to people as they desired. I bought a copy of his book, chatted with him for several minutes, took a picture together, and asked him to sign my convention program. He was an extremely nice fellow and I am enjoying his book.
What surprised me the most about the convention how small it was. I am used to computer conventions where you can spend an entire weekend and not see everything. I spent only a few afternoon hours at the Star Trek Convention, during which was I able to see a couple of presentations, have a long lunch, and walk the vendors’ area about four times.
All in all it was an enjoyable experience, satisfied my curiosity, and was worth the $35 admission.