The Great GeekFest returned to the Delaware County District Library (DCDL) this past weekend and was attended by more than 700 people.
Amanda Henning, the manager of the DCDL’s Powell Branch and one of the organizers of GeekFest, said Monday that Saturday’s event at the Delaware Branch “went great!”
“This was our first year back in person since 2019,” Henning said. “We had over 700 people attend. It was a good turnout, especially for not doing it for two years. The retention was good.”
Henning said the day was filled with cosplayers, trivia and “Dungeons and Dragons,” as well as panels and vendors. She added the traditional downtown scavenger hunt returned this year and said 15 local businesses participated by having hidden items in their stores for people to find.
“We had to remember how to do this again,” Henning joked. “A lot of our vendors changed in between. We had to find some new connections, a lot of which ended up being great.”
Henning said the cosplay competition continues to draw large crowds, and competitors lined the entire second floor. On Monday, Henning said she was worried about how the event would go until she saw how many people were attending.
“For me, when the doors opened and I started to see cosplayers coming through the door, I was like okay,’” Henning said. “Even before the event, we put our schedule online and we had 400 people download our schedule. Once I knew there were that many people excited, I knew it was back again.”
Henning said the break in the events allowed the GeekFest committee to come up with new features and ideas, including a quiet space this year for introverted people or people overwhelmed by the noise and crowds.
“At one point I looked over and there were a bunch of teens in there hanging out,” Henning said. “We got good feedback on it. It’s nice to make sure people are comfortable at the event. Because we had a break for a couple of years, it really let us evaluate what we liked and fix the things we didn’t. That’s the goal. We want to try and bring back the classics but always be thinking about new exciting things that we can do.”
Henning said she hopes to continue to bring exciting and popular ideas to future GeekFests.
“(We try to) find that pop culture item we’re all obsessed with,” she said. “It’s been really fun to add new things as we go forward. (We look to) see what comes out of the pop culture zeitgeist that would be fun to add in. It’s a lot of hard work.”
Henning said she’s thankful to the committee who planned the event.
“I’m so grateful that we have the amazing team that we have,” she said. “As someone who grew up as a nerdy teen and is now a nerdy adult, seeing the community come together and giving the community a safe place to meet up and explore all the passions we have … it’s the thing that makes me come back to this committee even though it is hard work.”
Henning added her favorite part was seeing people in the community interacting with one another.
“You saw adults complimenting teens on their cosplays and teens helping kids … (those are) the best, most positive interactions with the community,” Henning said. “I’m grateful for everyone who came out this year.”
Henning said GeekFest will return next year.