The time has come again to grab that lightsaber, practice the Vulcan hand salute, dust off the TARDIS and release your inner geek.
The Sci-Fi Saturday Benefit Event runs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the McGowan building of Carlisle High School. The public is welcome to attend.
Presented by the school’s Super Sci-Fi Club, the fourth annual event is part charitable giving and part celebration of all things science fiction, fantasy and comic book super hero.
“It’s really about benefiting the community,” said Kathy Schock, a high school German teacher who started the club about five years ago. “We try to make it very family oriented.”
“It brings together a whole bunch of people who have the same interests,” said Gunner Kuhn, 15, a sophomore from Dickinson Township and the club vice president.
Featured activities include a costume contest, a live DJ, special presentations, an author panel discussion, gaming demos, Doctor Who Bingo and a Name that Tune Contest.
Weather permitting, there will be an outdoor presentation by the Capital City Jedi Knights, a nonprofit choreographed stage combat group that specializes in costumed Star Wars styled lightsaber demonstrations.
“It’s a good place to go if you are a nerd,” said Sierra Hammaker, 17, a senior from Dickinson Township and the club president. “It’s a day to go out and find out new things about the community.”
The admission price of this event is either the donation of two canned goods or $2 per person to benefit the Project SHARE food bank in Carlisle, Schock said. She said the club is also hosting a clothing drive to collect gently used clothes for a community outreach program operated by the New Life Community Church on East North Street.
About 40 authors, artists, fan groups and vendors are expected Saturday. Many of them have donated items toward raffle drawings that will be held at 1 and 4:30 p.m. in the main event room. Raffle tickets are $1 each with proceeds going to Project SHARE.
Participants must be present to claim raffle prizes. Tickets picked at 1 p.m. will be honored until 4:30 p.m. when the unclaimed prizes will again be drawn, Schock said. She said free raffle tickets will be given to people who bring in extra food or participate in other charitable drives hosted by area fan groups.
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The Star Wars costume group Garrison Carida will collect unopened Star Wars toys to distribute to sick children during upcoming hospital visits. Though group members portray villains from the movie franchise, their motto is “bad guys doing good,” Schrock said. “They bring joy to kids’ lives through their costumes.”
The Central Pennsylvania Avengers is a group of cosplay enthusiasts who dress as comic book superheroes to raise awareness of charitable causes. They will be at the event this Saturday collecting super hero throw blankets to give to patients at the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital in Danville. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CPA.Avengers.
The Central Pennsylvania Blood Bank will host a community blood drive during Saturday’s event in front of the McGowan building from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A form of ID is required to donate. For more information, call 1-800-771-0059 or visit 717giveblood.org.
The Sci-Fi Club will be selling a limited amount of event T-shirts to raise money for Project SHARE.
New this year
While the majority of the vendors and special guests will be in the McGowan gym, there is a schedule of events planned in other parts of the school. New this year will be a panel discussion and special presentations in two nearby classrooms and in the Café and the large group instruction room of the adjoining Fowler building.
Scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m., the panel discussion will feature six authors answering questions for aspiring authors. Topics include Books to Movies, Self-Publishing, Finding Your Art, Flash Fiction After Dark, Giving and Gaming, Kickstarter 101 and an Intro to Digital Art and Comics.
A formal gaming schedule is also new. Big B’s Convention Gaming will be offering ongoing games and demos on tables outside the main event room. There will be Star Wars trivia and a demo of a Star Wars role-playing game. The movie franchise is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Sci-Fi Club members will donate their time Saturday to run the event. They will be joined by members of other student organizations including the Key Club, Spanish Honor Society and English Honor Society.
“The kids are really doing that community outreach and being geeks,” Schrock said. “We really want to encourage people to come. This year we have seen a lot of growth.”
“It has gotten huge,” Hammaker said. “We have twice as many vendors this year than there were last year. There are a bunch of different creators.”