Calgary

Vul-Con set to celebrate 50 years of Star Trek

A half-century of Star Trek is being celebrated this weekend at Vul-Con 2016.

Julie Cobb, the only female redshirt killed off in the original series, will be there

Mike Schmidt explains why Garak is his favourite Star Trek character. 0:58

A half-century of Star Trek is being celebrated this weekend at Vul-Con 2016.

Among the thousands who will be transporting themselves to Vulcan — about 120 km southeast of Calgary — for the annual two-day Star Trek convention will be superfan Mike Schmidt, who was aboard the USS Vulcan on Friday for the Calgary Stampede Parade, dressed as Quark, a popular Ferengi character from the Deep Space Nine series.

"For those who don't know Star Trek, he was the barkeep on Deep Space Nine and he was kind of a neutral party," Schmidt told Alberta@Noon.

"He didn't really take sides as long as he could make a profit from whatever was going on."

Vul-Con festivities will kick off at 9 a.m. Saturday when Adam Nimoy — son of the late Leonard Nimoy — is slated to unveil a plaque honouring his father at the Spock Bust in the centre of town.

There will be a few recognizable faces in the crowd this weekend.

Several stars are beaming in, including Julie Cobb, who was the only female redshirt to be killed off in the original series, and Rosemary Morgan, who played Piri on the Star Trek Voyager series.

Mike Schmidt on the set of Renegades, a Star Trek inspired series. (Mike Schmidt)

But one star stands out for Schmidt, who will be dressed this weekend as Garak, a Cardassian also from the Deep Space Nine series. The actor who played him, Andrew J. Robinson, will also be there Sunday.

"The reason I like him and why he is Star Trek to me is because on Deep Space Nine he was exiled from his Cardassian people and forced to live among these bizarre people on this space station where he was really by himself in an uncomfortable position," said Schmidt.

"He was a misfit and I could relate to that. He became an integral part of the team of people working on Deep Space Nine and that inspired me to know that I could become the integral part of a team … and I have in my personal life and my work life."

Star Trek superfan Mike Schmidt dressed as the character, Garak. (Mike Schmidt)

This will be Schmidt's 11th year at Vul-Con with his youngest daughter.

"The first time I went 11 years ago I took both my daughters and the older one said that's enough for her, she's only been once since then, but my younger one loved it and that's been a dad-daughter tradition ever since," he said.

"From the first time we went it's been an annual thing we know is on our calendar from now until the day we die."

There are larger Star Trek conventions, but Vulcan's is the best, said Schmidt.

"The one in Vulcan is more like a family reunion," he said.

"Vulcan just has that small town feel to it and you're just as much looking forward to seeing the fans every year for a family reunion as you are looking forward to seeing the celebrities."


With files from Alberta@Noon