Last June thousands of Star Trek fans descended upon Canada’s nerdiest mecca: Vulcan, Alberta. Sharing its name with the home planet of the pointy-eared, Suicide Girl-coiffed character Mister Spock, the tiny prairie town hosts an annual Star Trek convention called Spock Days that attracts at least twice as many people than the 2000 that call it home. Hardcore fans show up from all over the world, most dressed in costume to watch the Trek parade, sing at Klingon Karaoke, meet former cast members, converse in the show’s fictional languages, and generally nerd out harder than is humanly possible.
More than fifty years before the show aired, a Canadian Pacific Railway surveyor named the town after the Roman god of fire. After the show gained a cult following decades later, locals decided to um, celebrate the coincidence by busting out Trek-themed statues and naming businesses things like Lunar Liqour and Tribbles Small Dog Grooming to encourage the ever-growing number of curious fans trickling into town. Nowadays you can’t go anywhere without seeing Klingon graffiti, somebody throwing up the “Live long and prosper” hand sign and seeing naked green women gyrating at their strip club. Actually the last thing isn't true, but we wish it was.
Exiting off the highway, this replica of the Starship Enterprise lets you know that you’ve officially crossed over into nerd country.
The tourism information centre could easily be mistaken for a highway diner in Nevada during the '50s.
Those unable to do the Spock sign (like me) need not apply for a job at the tourism centre and gift shop.
The parade is one of the convention’s highlights. Spending hours and hours building elaborate floats and putting together accurate costumes, nobody half-asses it.
Even the local teenage vandals get into the spirit of things.
Chaw' maH tlhap vam qep ghoS! Is Klingon for, "Let’s get this party started!"
Some families go skiing, others spend their long weekends at the cottage, but this adorable family spends hours perfecting their costumes and make-up before driving several hours to meet others who’ve spent hours perfecting their costumes and make-up.
Because not even space-age technology can match the power of booze and pills.
Vulcan junkies never have trouble finding company in alleys.
Although I’ve never watched a full episode of Star Trek, I respect this level of dedication and enthusiasm for something as trivial as a television show. Deep down though, it’s hard not picturing Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds busting up the parade chanting “Nerd! Nerd! Nerd!” Although the Klingon “toDSaH! toDSaH!” toDSaH!”” might be more appropriate.
Follow Gregory on Twitter @GGRPike
Photos by Valerie Jenkins and Barcroft Media