Shore Leave will be celebrating thirty-five years of existence this August, and the fan run convention is still going strong, with Shore Leave 35‘s Trek guests to be William Shatner and Brent Spiner.
Dating back to the 1970s, the convention name was taken from an original series name and was only expected to be a “one-time Star Trek gathering.”
That first convention, lasting only one day, “took place … on the 3rd floor of the University Union building at what was then called Towson State University.” Guests at that long-ago convention included NASA Program Manager Jesco Von Puttkamer, who was the technical advisor on 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture; and several editors of well-known Star Trek fanzines, which were all the rage in those pre-Internet days. Fans in attendance enjoyed a Star Trek slide presentation and the Star Trek merchandise available at the convention.
After that first Shore Leave convention, future Shore Leaves were held at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn in Hunt Valley, Maryland, where they still take place (the hotel has recently been renamed) and Star Trek guests in those early years included original series actors such as George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Nichelle Nichols.
The actors were joined by science fiction authors Robert Greenberger and Howard Weinstein, who joined the convention in those early years and the pair has rarely missed a Shore Leave since. Shore Leave is known for having a strong Star Trek author presence.
As the years went by, other Shore Leave staples were added to the usual convention fare of Q&A and autograph sessions, memorabilia dealers, arts shows and panel discussions; including the Ten-Forward dance, the Saturday night Masquerade, the Friday night “Meet the Pros” (which includes Star Trek authors and scientific guests), and Mystery Trekkie Theater 3000. Many fans especially enjoy the “Meet the Pros” event, where they can purchase Star Trek books, meet the authors, and get the books autographed by the authors.
Shore Leave also shows the generosity of its fans and the spirit of IDIC, with charity events such as blood drives, donations to the Maryland Food Bank, the Robbie Greenberger Memorial Texas Hold-’em poker tournament and more being offered at the yearly convention.
Several other conventions have come and gone in the Baltimore area, but only Shore Leave and Farpoint remain. Shore Leave is known for its friendly atmosphere and guests and fans alike enjoy the yearly event.
This year’s Shore Leave will be held August 2-4, and will include William Shatner, Brent Spiner, Saul Rubinek, Amanda Tapping, Eddie McClintock, Neil Grayston, Greg Evigan, Vic Mignogna, and Julie Caitlin Brown on its guest list. Almost forty authors will be in attendance, and there will be over a dozen science guests. Entertainment will be provided by The Chromatics, Luna-C, and The Boogie Knights.
There will be a blood drive at Shore Leave 35, and a charity auction which will support Military Working Dogs, Poe’s House Museum (a Baltimore charity), and the Prince George’s County Free Smoke Alarm program, which provides free smoke detectors for those who cannot afford to purchase them. The Fifth Annual Texas Hold-’em poker tournament will be held in memory of Robbie Greenberger, son of author Robert Greenberger, and food will be collected for the Maryland Food Bank.
Tickets will be available at the door for Shore Leave 35. Tickets will cost $85 for the entire weekend. Prices for single days will be $30 for Friday, $60 for Saturday (this includes the Masquerade and Ten-Forward dance), $15 for Saturday evening only, $40 for Sunday. Teen tickets will cost $50 for the weekend, children’s (5-12) tickets will be $20, and those under five years old can attend free with a paying adult.
More information on Shore Leave 35 can be found here.