The Delorean from “Back to the Future” and the TARDIS from “Doctor Who” carried some of the world’s favorite fictitious characters on adventures through time and space.
It will be the third iteration of the fest in New Orleans. Since its start with 400 attendees in 2013, the event has grown to an expected 1,000 this year, leading organizers to seek a larger space.
This year’s NOLA Time Fest, June 6-7, will take place at the Hilton New Orleans Airport at 901 Airline Drive in Kenner. The move gives the growing festival more room, and there’s another very practical appeal to fans of the automotive time travel: parking.
“This year we decided to expand it to two days and moved it to another Hilton hotel that has a little better parking,” said organizer, founder and Krewe du Who leader Paul M. Patecek. “Last year we had some challenges with that, and we’ve expanded it to be open to all time travelers, not just Doctor Who fans.”
Time Fest will be filled with activities, panels, gaming, vendors, contests and also will feature musical performances from The Consortium of Genius and New Orleans SteamCog Orchestra. All connect with the idea of time travel or “Doctor Who.”
The Dalek Extermination Booth will allow participants to shoot at the show’s great antagonists, the Daleks. Overseen by longtime Krewe du Who participant and NOLA Time Fest organizer Carleigh Bedell, all of the booth’s proceeds will benefit Together Enhancing Autism Awareness Mississippi, a one-of-a-kind camp for autistic children.
Bedell says her son, Alex, who is on the autism spectrum, finds acceptance at the Time Fest.
“We discovered with him in his costume he felt safe interacting with people and everybody thought he was cool,” Bedell said. “It made a huge difference for him.”
Participants celebrate the event for its inclusiveness. The festival welcomes fans of all ages, as “Doctor Who” has run for over 50 years and continues today. Multiple generations have participated in its ongoing storyline and know the 12 actors who have played the main character.
Terry Verigan and his great-nephew attend this year’s Time Fest with their love of the show and legacy in mind.
Dressed as the Eleventh Doctor, the two performed a skit at the group costume contest and won. They return this year but remain tight-lipped about their plans.
“It’s under wraps,” Verigan said. “We’re making plans to reprise our roles in the group costume contest, considering what our skit might be and thinking about which characters we want to take on.”
But Verigan says you don’t have to take the event as seriously. According to Verigan, it’s one of the best entertainment values in town and a very welcoming environment.
“You just simply need to come out and find out for yourself,” he said. “Even if you haven’t heard of Doctor Who, this is the place to get started. Once you show up you’ll end up wanting to see all the episodes going back to the First Doctor.”