Nerds out in force

July 24, 2017

Xavier Morpeth, 7, Alexander Morpeth, 4, and Cathrine Morpeth, 8, of Swan Hill.

Word and Mouth Volunteers: Myrcina Kelly and Sascha Louise.

Luke Stadler and Andrew Farrell, with the 501 st Legion Knightfall Garrison, a Melbourne group. Mr Farrell use to live in Shepparton and was a member of Word and Mouth.

Ben Ladson as Where's Wally.

Shepparton's Kayden Biffen, 3, as Spider-Man with his uncle Shane Cox as Thor.

Ashley and Annabelle Maclurkin from Melbourne.

Green Power Ramger: Mark Niven.

Talking Turkey: Mercy, aka Alexandra Collingwood, from Melbourne spoke on costume building with her sister Caitlin Collingwood.

Nerdiness descended on the Shepparton Showgrounds on Saturday in celebration of the third annual Nerdmania.

The Word and Mouth event featured all things film and television, collectables, gaming and superheroes with guest speakers across the more than 70 stalls.

The event is modelled on popular science fiction and pop culture festivals, such as Comic-Con and Supernova, which attract thousands of fans to major cities.

More than 1000 revellers from across the state attended, making the turnout the biggest the event has witnessed.

Word and Mouth project manager Jim Gow said more than half of those who attended were from outside the region, including from Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Albury.

It followed a Visit Shepparton advertising scheme that helped an event campaign draw 40000 views online.

‘‘I don’t have a dollar amount, but I’m assuming the economic impact would be in the thousands and that has a ripple effect,’’ Mr Gow said.

‘‘This year we’ve had a little lead-in time and I had gone face-to-face with several businesses in accommodation, hospitality and entertainment, so if they kept their wrist band on they would get a certain discount.

‘‘There was a lot more community involvement from that perspective and in future we’re looking at implementing those things more to encourage people to stay longer, spend more.’’

Next year, the committee will look at expanding the event.

And then one day, it could potentially turn into a weekend-long festival.

But Mr Gow said the only reason the event was possible was due to the youth volunteers at Word and Mouth.

‘‘People don’t realise, but none of this happens if there’s no youth committee, so these committees mean a lot to a regional area, and it’s not just about the money flowing in from tickets,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s a lot broader than that.

‘‘It’s getting a great reputation for being a high-quality pop-culture event and the diversity and friendliness of the regional people is what we hear about a lot.’’

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