Nerd Walk 2014
A few weeks before ArtPrize, I received an email about a new event called the Nerd Walk on September 24th, 2014. Grand Valley State University and PBS were hosting the Nerd Walk. The website utilized catchy buzzwords and phrases such as nerding out, nerding it up and nerd-dom. I guess this was all designed as bait for……you guessed it, nerds. People were wanted to claim their own brand of nerd-dom. The Nerd Walk was going to kick off ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids. I was intrigued and decided to register for the event in order to participate.
Heading downtown to the Rosa Parks Circle, I had no idea what to expect. I was hoping for a gathering of people from the nerd and geek communities where we could mingle. Maybe Grand Rapids was bringing nerds and geeks together in an event that wasn’t a convention or expo. Neither happened.
For those of us who registered through email, we received a yellow t-shirt with GVSU and PBS Nerd Walk plastered on it. At 6:15, the GVSU Laker Marching Band performed a few songs. Some of the songs were original. However, they did a few covers: All of the Lights by Kanye West, Give Up the Funk by Parliament and my favorite Cum On Feel the Noize by Quiet Riot. After that, Governor Rick Snyder gave a short speech to the crowd. He highlighted how art can improve people’s lives and how ArtPrize helps the economy of Grand Rapids. Another performance by the marching band with the GVSU Dance Company this time around. Flags swung and batons twirled, what else can be said? The marching band and the dance company performed their jobs well as they were entertaining.
We gathered to follow the marching band. Representatives of GVSU and PBS were encouraging people to utilize social media hashtags for GVSU and PBS Nerd. Off we went through the streets as a “nerd” parade before the public. The marching band…marched through the streets of Grand Rapids, through the Blue Bridge and stopped in front of the L.V. Eberhard Center for GVSU. The marching band performed in front of the Center for the crowd to end the Nerd Walk. We were all thanked for participating and told to enjoy ArtPrize.
All in all, there was nothing geeky or nerdy about this event. Maybe in name, but that’s about it. It was all a promotional relations event for ArtPrize, PBS and GVSU. I can’t help but feel a little disappointed and misled. There was no mingling of nerds and geeks. We were used as walking advertisements for PBS and GVSU. Simply calling something nerd in name doesn’t make it a nerdy unless there is some substance or passion behind it. I certainly was not expecting this to be a nerdy convention but I was expecting at least something nerdy or geeky. Like I mentioned earlier, nothing like that remotely happened. I’ll pass on the event next year.