Sputnikfest: More wacky than a con — and my first visit to Wisconsin!


Well, HERE’S something new in the Trekland galaxy for me: Being a guest at a community festival — its FIRST guest. And my first-ever trek to Wisconsin, to boot!

But not just any festival— one of the Top Five Funkiest Festivals in the U.S., according to Readers Digest!

I mean, come on— what else could Sputnikfest be?

Sure, this Sept. 7-8 funfest in Manitowoc, just down from Green Bay on the Lake Michigan shore, celebrates the day way back in 1962 when a  20-pound chunk of Sputnik IV fell back to Earth in the wee hours and cratered out a hole in the asphalt right at Park & North 8th Street!

But now Sputnikfest is so much more— and even space.com did a story on the roots and the rowdy results. This rollicking street fair, organized since 2007 by my hosts at the city-owned Rahr-West Art Museum (whose children’s art programs benefit from the proceeds), is taking it up a notch this year with some new con-like touches. Like, uh … me!

Yes, there’s sci-fi and sci-fact elements too, in amidst the goofy costume and other  contests for all ages, a two-hour trivia bash Friday night, and of course (I did say it’s a community festival) lots of live music.

Make no mistake, Trekpeeps— there’s no gaming room, anime screening, or long autograph lines here. Being Wisconsin, I’m mainly expecting cheese, bands and beer. It is a community festival… but then again, not one like I’VE ever seen!

But I really hope all our Treklanders within a 2-3 hour drive all across Wisconsin  — and up from Chicago, or even over to Michigan, Indiana, or Minnesota — just might give this baby a try this year.

And look: The 501st always turns up in force—so, laddies, this is a matter o’pride! And yes — COSPLAY IS ENCOURAGED! Give the kids something else to snap pics with besides all that shiny white plastic!  (Check out all the events below I’ll be hosting or speaking at).

Most of all, you can bet I’ll be letting everybody there know just how they can all join me to celebrate  Star Trek Day on Sept. 8, to boot. Happy 52nd, Star Trek!

It’s really something wackily different with a host of events and contests for everybody— would Reader’s Digest lie?  And it’s a rare chance for me to visit the region, up in northwestern Big 10 country. I’d really love to meet up with Badger-state Treklanders of all niches that weekend.

For more details and updates, heck out the festival’s Facebook page, too.

Here’s just *my* schedule for Sputnikfest 2018, where things run Friday 5-11 pm and Saturday noon-6 (when the local watering holes take over from teh main and kids’ tents and museum/lawn).  So  you still have Sunday to get back and get braced for Monday!. (The full schedule is here.)

FRIDAY, Sept. 7

(technically, this is “Aliens in the Alley”)
5-11 pm

5:30-7 pm. Sci-Fi Trivia Contest— For teams of 4, at $40 per team entry … with Dr. Trek as emcee.

8:30 — ??  Ms. Space Debris” Pageant — Goofy cosplay, “talent” segment and some appropriate interview questions! “Although the title is ‘Ms.’ Space Debris, contestants do not have to be of the female gender. All that is required is that they must be a ‘human life form’ “. (I’ll be a judge!)

Kids’ contests and street bands are going, too.

SATURDAY , Sept. 8

Noon- 6 pm  I’ll have a Trekland table inside the museum, except for:

1 or 1:30 pm — Judging one of the kids costume or pet contests … TBA!

3:30-5 pm And, finally, a real Trekland: Between the Cracks talk of mine — but one specially suited to the vibe of Sputnikfest. This ain’t no STLV seminar or Comic-Con survey session!

The whole thing ends with an “Alien Drop” at the impact site— the most bizarre way of calling out a raffle winner I think I’ve ever heard of.

I grew up with the Rose Rock Festival, 89er Days, and Medieval Fair …and many more “local festivals” all over … but never one that’s a goofy sci-fact/sci-fi crossover shindig.



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