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Trekkies to gather at open house

Star Trek made its debut Sept. 8, 1966, and became legendary, and its millions of fans kept the sci-fi series immortal.

Whether you're a fan of the original Star Trek, or an aficionado of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager or Star Trek Enterprise, or the string of Trek motion pictures, you won't want to miss an open house Saturday presented by the USS Antares, a local Star Trek club.

Patrick McAndrew, of Kennewick, is the commanding officer of the Antares, and he says the Trekkie club's first open house, at the main branch of the Mid-Columbia Library on Union Street in Kennewick, will have something for the whole family to enjoy.

McAndrew, 38, admits to catching Gene Roddenberry fever when he was a kid. Roddenberry was the creator of the Trek craze. But McAndrew's devotion to Trekkism goes far beyond the fantasy to command a star ship.

"I first experienced Star Trek in 1984 when I saw the movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," he said. "I loved Roddenberry's positive vision of the future, his vision that mankind could someday live in peace and harmony, where poverty is eliminated and learning there really are benevolent species in the galaxy, is a comforting ideal."

The Star Trek club's open house, from noon to 4 p.m., will feature a replica of the starship Enterprise 10-forward recreation lounge, complete with lighted tables and bar, as well as a simulated bank of windows with a view of a million stars. There will be hands-on craft activities for children, during which they will make their own Star Trek uniform insignia. Cookies and punch will be on hand, too.

A selection of vintage Star TrekTV shows will be aired during the three-hour open house. Though admission is free, the club asks visitors to bring nonperishable food items, which will be given to Second Harvest. The club also accepts donations of coupons for food, toiletries and household supplies for the Coupons for Soldiers organization, as well as My Friend's Place, a shelter for homeless teenagers.

McAndrew organized the club about five years ago. His first officer is Lea Morgan of Kennewick, and his chief engineer is Laurie Pfeiffer of Pasco. De Miner of Kennewick is the club's doctor, and the communication chief is Tom King of Kennewick.

"We added a Marine officer in charge to our starship (club)," McAndrew said. "Michael Marquart plays that role, though he actually did serve in the Army."

Club members will be dressed in Star Trek attire and will have all sorts of memorabilia on site for visitors to peruse, including novels, jewelry and phasers.

When McAndrew was younger, he took a lot of ribbing from his friends for his infatuation with Star Trek.

"It used to bother me when my friends hassled me about it, but not anymore," he said. "I remember when I was a freshman in high school and my mother dropped me off at school wearing a clown costume. You're vulnerable at that age, so I was embarrassed. But when you get older and more comfortable with yourself, you learn not to let being different bother you anymore."

McAndrew takes his duties as captain of the Antares seriously, carrying it into his 21st century job as an administrative assistant at Pacific Recycling in Kennewick.

"I have plans to make my office at work look just like a starship captain's radio room," he said with a smirk.

For more information about the USS Antares Star Trek Club, call McAndrew at 585-9186.

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