“Only in Cleveland,” Scott turned and said to me at this year’s Yuri’s Night Cleveland, “can I enjoy a drink at a science center to celebrate a Russian cosmonaut, while a band dressed in Star Trek uniforms named after a Mel Brooks pun plays Boogie Man.”
On April 12, space geeks came together with fans of science fiction, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and the Jetsons at the Great Lakes Science Center for Yuri’s Night. The party is Cleveland’s contribution to the worldwide celebration of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space.
Only at comic book conventions have I seen a celebration of so many layers of nerdom under one roof. It’s why I love this event and look forward to it every year.
Our first stop at Yuri’s Night Cleveland was for a bit of rocket fuel.
Upstairs in the VIP lounge, we sampled a shot of chilled pea soup from AMP150 and grilled asparagus salad with parmesan biscuit from Crop. Downstairs, they had some of my favorite comfort foods including empanadas and fried ravioli.
And then of course there was dessert. While there were many sweets to choose from, I opted for A Cupcake a Day‘s blackberry sage cupcake, Peace Love and Little Donuts‘ raspberry lemonade donut, and astronaut chocolates from Sweet Designs.
While we ate, Scott and I enjoyed a lot of rock and a little ska from Abby Normal. They embraced the spirit of the evening and captivated the crowd – dressing as a Star Trek crew and making great use of the Science Center’s escalators:
After enjoying their performance, I tracked down the special guest I most-wanted to see. No, not Astronaut Greg Johnson … R2D2!
Ok, @Astro_Box was the Yuri’s Night guest I was second-most excited for, and we managed to have our photo taken with him at the end of the night.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the Doctor Who Society of Cleveland who brought their TARDIS. The craftsmanship was incredible.
If you missed the TARDIS at Yuri’s Night, it’ll be at the premiere of episode 1 of T.R.A.C.E, a Doctor Who Fan Film, on May 7.
Some of the fashions at Yuri’s Night could have rivaled costumes at a convention. The costume contest winner honored the man we were celebrating, Yuri himself. However, this one was my favorite:
All this sightseeing and people watching tuckered me out. Fortunately, we were able to rest our feet in the Black Light Lounge. New to this year’s Yuri’s Night party, the lounge featured an art wall for everyone to draw and write on and a CIA fashion show of wearable tech.
Of course, Yuri’s Night wasn’t all fun and games. In addition to checking out the Science Center’s exhibits, Scott and I made sure we took in a few lectures.
These weren’t your run-of-the-mill physics lessons. We first caught part of a talk on the similarities between real-life space science and its pop culture counterparts, and then we witnessed the Big Science Show’s rocket launch while learning about propulsion.
Unfortunately, what goes up must come down and even the best of times must come to an end. So after GLSC’s epic midnight balloon drop, Scott and I called it a night and headed home.
However, we only have to wait til the Earth goes around the sun one more time before our next Yuri’s Night. I hope we’ll see you there!