Sci-Fi on the Rock blasts off Friday

Meghan McCabe
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Annual event to fete ‘Doctor Who’ this year

Dominic Keating, who played Lt. Malcolm Reed on “Star Trek: Enterprise” is one of the celebrities coming to St. John’s this weekend for the seventh annual Sci-Fi on the Rock convention. — Photo by CBS Paramount

In the spirit of celebrating all things science fiction, this year’s Sci-Fi on the Rock is basically a birthday party for “Doctor Who.”

“I’m really excited. This year is actually the 50th anniversary of the ‘Doctor Who’ show,” says organizer Keith Makse. “We’re going to be decorating the biggest ‘Doctor Who’ cake” for the anniversary party at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The seventh annual event runs from Friday until Sunday at the Holiday Inn on Portugal Cove Road in St. John’s.

“It started off with basically a couple of people and a vision, and just, ‘Hey, let’s just put this on our credit cards and see what happens,’” says Makse.

The event has gone from one day of everything sci-fi to three, with about 2,000 people attending.

Although organizers have more money now to bring in high-level talent, Makse would like to be able to raise the profile even more with a bigger budget.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to see it grow and see the numbers of people coming out,” says Steve Lake, who has been around since the beginning.

“What’s also interesting right now is that Sci-Fi on the Rock is actually being known throughout the talent community. People are actually asking, ‘Can I come out?’” says Makse.

There are five special guests this year: Dominic Keating, better known as Lt. Malcolm Reed from “Star Trek: Enterprise”; Mike Dopud, who is “pretty much on all the science fiction shows that are awesome and are filmed in Vancouver,” according to Makse; Gary Jones, best known for his role on “Stargate SG-1”; Dean Haglund, who made his mark on “The X-Files”; and Ginny McQueen, well-known for her costuming and modelling.

“Gary Jones and Dean Haglund are best friends, and they do stand up together, which they’re going to do at the cantina (open mic) Saturday night,” says Makse.

 Sci-Fi on the Rock has all kinds of workshops and activities, and a group of video game developers are doing a 48-hour game jam to create new games by Sunday.

And it’s not all for the sake of sci-fi. Proceeds from a charity auction on Saturday will go to Iris Kirby House.

“It is months of work. We started last September with the planning stages,” says Lake.

But it’s worthwhile work to the people involved.

“What I really like is that it gets people interacting. It’s all about social interaction,” says Makse.

“Most science fiction is designed to question where our current level of science is actually going forward to in the future, and looking into that ... it’s the basic questions of where are we and where are we going,” says Makse, adding people are getting more interested in science and discussing it.

“Walking through the vendors is one of my favourite things,” says Makse. But he says you have to make sure you have cash, as the ATM at the hotel gets emptied.     Twitter: @mccabemeg

Organizations: Holiday Inn, Iris Kirby House

Geographic location: Portugal Cove Road, Vancouver

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