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Geek U.P. returns to Keweenaw

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette During the third annual Geek U.P. in 2019, Angie Foley and Owen Cogswell, 8, of Rousseau, Michigan, greet a wendigo played by Cooper Sheldon, a graduate student of industrial archaeology at Michigan Technological University, and a witch played by Lela Walls, an eighth-grade student from Calumet. Geek U.P. returns Saturday after a three-year layoff.

HOUGHTON — After two years away due to COVID-19, Geek U.P. returns Saturday with a lineup of artists, vendors, costume contests and guest appearances.

It all happens from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Memorial Union Building ballroom at Michigan Technological University. The convention almost came back in 2021, but that plan was scrapped with the surge of Delta cases, said Geek U.P. co-founder Shana Porteen, owner of Black Ice Comics. Especially after the shop moved to Shelden Avenue last year, customers kept asking when the next one would happen.

“I started having students coming in saying, ‘Please tell me you’re going to do this again before I graduate,'” she said.

Geek U.P. will have an artists’ alley and an array of creative vendors. Special interest clubs from Michigan Tech, whether tabletop gamers and video gamers, will also come and engage with students and the community.

“Those clubs invite a lot of the community, and I don’t know that a lot fo the community knows that,” Porteen said. “It’s really nice when kids can come or young adults can come and meet some people with similar interests. It’s a great way to find groups where they can play their games or just meet other people who enjoy what they enjoy.”

After three years away, they wanted to make Geek U.P. even more participatory. A stage will be set up for a cosplay contest starting at 1 p.m.

“Cosplay, it’s just fun, and people get to exercise their fandom in some other way,” Porteen said.

Attendees will also get to meet actors Patricia Summersett and Roger Craig Smith. Summersett, a L’Anse native, is a co-founder of Geek U.P. She has done voice and motion capture work for a number of iconic roles, including Princess Zelda in “Breath of the Wild” and Ash in multiple “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six” games. Smith, a newcomer to the festival, is known for voicing such roles such as Claggor in the Netflix show “Arcane: League of Legends” and as the current voice actor in the Sonic the Hedgehog games.

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