Two hairy men and a Library

The Story of the first Nerd Con

It all started with a conversation at a book release party between Desiree Byars and James Chisum. Desiree was a volunteer at the Sam and Carmena Goss Memorial Library in Mont Belvieu and James was the founder of Nerd Fest a pop culture fan group. Desiree and James had previously met at Eastern Rim Funny Book and Vintage Con and were discussing their love of comic cons. Desiree mentioned the Goss was always looking for ways to engage the community and having an event would be fun. Jerry Shafer the organizer of Eastern Rim was also in attendance and joined the conversation. After a brief conversation Desiree said she’d talk to the Goss and be in touch. .

A few months had passed since the initial conversation when Desiree put James in contact with Kellee Traylor the director of adult services for the Goss Library. After a thirty minute phone call a meeting was set.

James asked his friend Jerry Shafer to be involved with the planning. Jerry’s experience was a god sent and after the initial meeting with Kellee and fellow library staff member Jinnie McLennan there was a great amount of excitement.

The library staff were amazing. They wanted to make sure Nerd Con was a family friendly and would bring people into the library and showcase all of the amazing fun services they offer. For their part Jerry and James just wanted to put together an incredible fun show. Jerry’s experience told him logistics and flow were what really mattered. Jerry masterminded layouts. James on the other hand valued engaging vendors above all else. It was his experience that said the best events had the vendors that welcomed you in.

Dates were set, vendors were welcomed and Nerd Con was moving forward. The Chambers County Library System created an event and James recognized it needed content to bring to gain interest. Andrew Valdez provided art work but beyond that the team didn’t have much to work with, There was practically no budget to advertise so it was important to get creative. .

It was really important to the library, Jerry and James that Nerd Con be free for consumers and vendors. This meant there was not much money to make things happen. Without a budget for advertising the group had to be creative to get attention. James came up with an idea to shoot promotional videos. The library staff agreed to allow the filming and Jerry and James recruited members of Nerd Fest to help. The videos would be shared in various Chambers County community Facebook groups and any Houston area comic convention group. In all the videos received over 7700 views.

Nerd Con happened on December 8, 2018. There was terrible rain, cold and standing water. Jerry scramble to get tents to ensure a dry entrance. James put out signs to draw attention and The library staff under the leadership of Valerie Jensen ensured vender needs were addressed.

The event was a very nice success ad attracted 300 people. There were over 45 cosplayers, 30 vendor tables including writers, artists, vendors of products and the Jakku Temple Saber Guild. The fun included games, panels, karaoke and Jedi training. The event was a huge success.

Now the library staff along with the City of Mont Belvieu, the dynamic team from Nerd Fest and Eastern Rim Funny Book and Vintage Con are planning the follow up to Nerd Con. and this year will be even bigger. Be there for the fun.