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Geek Prom plans more bang for your buck

By V. Paul Virtucio
April 15, 2004 | Duluth News Tribune

What could be geekier than a building where you go to look at fish?

That was the idea on Paul Lundgren's mind when he and Scott Lunt decided to move their Geek Prom to the Great Lakes Aquarium after the NorShor Theatre closed in October and left the annual event homeless.

What better way to showcase your venue as a great place to throw a party than to open its doors to hundreds of nerdy-looking folks and rock 'n' roll music? That's what ran through aquarium director Chad Netherland's mind when the opportunity to host Geek Prom arose.

Call it a meeting of the minds: The third annual Geek Prom begins with the traditional Grand March of couples at 8 p.m. Saturday in the aquarium. Trailer Park Queen will headline the show at 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

Grandma's Sports Garden in Canal Park will throw a pre-prom party complete with a foosball tournament at 6:30 p.m. The night closes with a post-prom party at Pizza Luce at midnight.

Lundgren, Lunt and nearly a dozen other volunteers have planned a bigger bash for the same $4,000 as last year. Because the aquarium has a unique ambiance, Lundgren figured they'd spend less on decorations this year and put more money into the program.

There will be a "Funtime with Mark Lindquist," which sounds frighteningly funny if you know the outspoken garage rocker. "Will It Float?" will invite guests to guess if certain odd items will either float or sink in a large tank of water.

Geek Prom organizers hope to draw nearly 400 people because of the unique location. The first two proms drew more than 300 people to the NorShor Theatre.

Netherland hopes the event will show people the possibilities for throwing a party -- from weddings to corporate events -- at the Great Lakes Aquarium. He'll have staff members on hand to give full tours and answer questions.

"The Geek Prom gets a lot of attention and obviously, we don't have an awful lot of money this year," Netherlands said of his budget. "We're just doing something that we hope can get us some attention."