“I want Bartow to live long and prosper.”
Those were the words of Sean Serdynski when he described what May 17 may look like on Main Street in Bartow.
Main Street is going to look like characters and vendors beamed down as SyFy Saturday will line the streets.
And with the way Serdynski plans and orchestrates things, this has potential.
It is scheduled to run from 2-10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 17 — the day following the May Friday Fest. Not only will the streets be lined with vendors, costumed Star Trek fans and live music, but on the wall in the empty lot at Wilson and Main a special producer’s cut of “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” which will be presented in surround sound.
“I’m going to have a 6.1 surround sound on the lawn. I’ve got a pair of subs that each have two 18-inch speakers and it’s going to sound like four 18-inch speakers,” said Wayne Lewis, who will be setting up the sound. “It’s going to be a pain to set it up but it’s going to be really cool.”
All this has Serdynski excited.
“Wayne said it’s going to sound like the Enterprise is landing on Main Street.”
It’s mostly in an effort to boost attendance and awareness of Bartow in helping the local economy. Serdynski, who by the way, for his 40th birthday had the Enterprise A tattooed to his leg, came up with the idea in a conversation with Trish Pfeiffer. She made a poster for the event and he took it to a science fiction convention in Orlando and handed out more than 600 of them. In addition, Pfeiffer has posted this event on Facebook and word is getting out that on Stardate 11970.85, Main Street will boldly go where it never went before.
At the show in Orlando, Serdynski ran into Mike Kott, co-owner of the Intergalactic Trading Company in Longwood. He has one of the largest, if not the largest, science fiction sales companies in the nation. He has rented some space for the show and will likely be loaded with merchandise when he appears in Bartow.
“Sean approached us and mentioned it,” Kott said. “This is kind of like getting to sit outside and relax. It’s going to be very different (from most conventions) where we’re working hot and heavy.”
Kott said he will have a variety of merchandise ranging from $8 to $25. He said smaller towns are getting into the science fiction scene, so this doesn’t sound too unusual.
“A lot of smaller towns are doing a better job of putting things in town to draw people. Winter Park has been doing stuff for years, but there are still towns that do nothing and you should try something,” he said.
To some extent he’s right. While science fiction does not hit the “hot button” for a lot of people, it has the opposite effect on others and this could open the door to different people seeing what Bartow is about. To Pfeiffer this is a great opportunity.
For years she has tried to promote downtown Bartow as a place to visit. She draws in hundreds for bicycle shows and the new Vintage Vibe art festival. Pfeiffer said she always hears from people who see Bartow for the first time what a wonderful town it is and how the people are friendly and inviting.
Lining the streets isn’t the only thing Serdynski has in mind. He’s working on the restaurants getting into the theme.
He wants to let them use tapes of “Star Trek” episodes on their television sets, allow for contests on picking their favorite ones and have them serve stuff like Romulan Ale, blood wine and of course, Gagh, one of the Klingons’ favorite meals.
Serdynski said this could be an event that will go on for many years. He referred to the zombie event that has taken off in Lakeland and it’s time to see what Bartow can do.
Each year at Halloween, Serdynski spooks up his house with a variety of objects and always has a haunted house. It’s free and there’s a party on his street every year.
“Last year we had about 2,100 people and maybe 10 percent were from Bartow,” he said. “It’s not about money. It’s about fun and excitement.”
His goal: “It’s going to be a very interesting day.