Mona Shield Payne
Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013 | 2 a.m.
Hundreds of "Star Trek" fans flooded the Rio Convention Center on Saturday for this year’s Original Star Trek Convention.
Klingons, Borgs and Starship Enterprise crew members crammed into the convention floor to roam the vendor booths, meet their favorite actors and purchase collectors items. The booths featured everything a Trekkie would need to live long and prosper; one booth was even the site of a Klingon wedding.
The Las Vegas Sun boldly went where no newspaper has gone before and explored the Star Trek Convention vendor’s floor. Here are six of the more interesting booths at the Star Trek Convention:
Star Trek Enterprise D Bridge
The Star Trek Enterprise D Bridge was brought to life on the convention center floor thanks to the nonprofit New Starship Foundation. The group purchased the bridge from Paramount Pictures for $20,000 last year and restored it with the help of the show’s original stage designers. Star Trek fans also donated upward of $80,000 to aid in the restoration of the bridge. The set is complete with replica chairs; monitors and carpeting making it look like all it needs is Capt. Jean-Luc Picard saying, "Make it so.” In the meantime, it served as a Trekkie mecca. Fans lined up throughout the afternoon to take pictures in the chairs; two Klingons held a wedding there, and another man proposed to his girlfriend on the set.
Star Trek sick bay
The Starship Enterprise sick bay was brought to life in the middle of the convention floor at the MAS Magnetic Field Systems booth. The company offered free trials of its Electro Magnetic Field Therapy beds for Borgs and humans alike. The system is designed to increase blood flow and heal the body through tingly electro magnetic pulses. In between running around to meet actors and purchasing souvenirs, people lined up to heal themselves just like their favorite characters.
The Tribbles have invaded the Star Trek Convention. The tiny fur ball aliens invaded the Starship Enterprise in the "Star Trek" episode "Trouble with Tribbles," and now, they took over a whole display at the Roddenberry Entertainment booth. The vibrating fur balls coo when happy and squeal when sad. Sure, the booth had T-shirts and props such as the flute of Ressikan on sale, but the cuddly aliens remain one of the more popular items at the convention, said Roddenberry Entertainment producer Tory Mell. “Every year we have the Tribble, and people love them because they’re soft and adorable,” Mell said.
Alec Peters’ 'Star Trek' collection
At first, fans look at Alec Peters display of "Star Trek" uniforms and think it’s just another layout of authentic "Star Trek" outfits. Then, he tells them they’re actually show-worn. “Everyone is just incredulous, they can’t believe the stuff was really used,” he said. Peters' booth displayed the outfit worn by Capt. James T. Kirk, Capt. Archer and other characters from the show. In all, he estimated he spent $40,000 to buy the uniforms he had on display, and now he enjoys sharing it with Trekkies like himself.
While there were countless uniform booths at the convention, only one was for extreme fans. The Anovos booth offered fans tunics, pants, pins and patches made from the same material and design as those worn on the show. Fans could purchase uniforms made from the same material as those used on the show for more than $350. A Wolf Balderic sash designed by an original costume designer could even be pre-ordered for $1,210.
Native American jewelry in space?
At first glance, Parrish Native American Jewelry’s authentic Navajo jewelry and pottery seems out of place in a convention focused on "Star Trek" and science fiction. Yet, it makes perfect sense to booth owner Dennis Parrish. He has been making the trip to the convention every year since 2009. It fits the show because Navajos and other Native Americans are actually introduced in the episode "Paradise Syndrome," Parrish said. Plus, they’re there because he’s a huge "Star Trek" fan, he said.
Carnival lasts all year at the Rio. With a float occasionally passing overhead and dropping beads while feathered dancers fire up the gamblers below, the Rio tries to keep its 120,000-square foot casino jumping with excitement. Special Brazilian mixed-drinks are also served throughout the casino. The hotel suites tend to be larger than similar priced rooms on the Strip and many offer excellent views with floor to ceiling windows.
The Rio offers some quality shows like "Penn & Teller" and "Chippendales." Many come to the Rio for the nightlife at the VooDoo Lounge, located on the 51st floor, or McFadden's Irish Pub on the casino level.
Others come for a bit relaxation at the Rio Spa or pool area and still others come to shop at the hotel's 60,000 square feet of shops. In each of these endeavors, the Rio attempts to make the experience a bit more fun and spontaneous.
The Rio also offers guests a variety of dining choices from all-American food at the All-American Bar & Grille to Gaylord India Restaurant for something a little spicier and even Carnival World Buffet for the indecisive.