Nerd Out at This Weekend's PBS Nerd Walk in Tempe
Bob Beard is certain there's a nerd inside all of us. Yup, even you. There's no shame in admitting it, he says, since it's more socially acceptable than ever to be a member of the pocket protector brigade or to be a major geekazoid. For proof, look no further than the ever-growing number of people turning out for the annual PBS Nerd Walk in Tempe.
Dream Photography Studio Participants of the Nerd Walk in 2012.
And according to Beard, who founded the Nerd Walk in 2011 and works as a community engagement specialist for Eight Arizona PBS, this year's event on Saturday near Arizona State University's Tempe Campus will have its biggest turnout to date.
"Anybody who feels sort of a kinship with the nerd identity can come out and be a nerd for whatever it is they want to be," says Beard, who's previously contributed to Jackalope Ranch. "I tell people, 'If you think you're a nerd, then you are one,' and should come and be a part of the walk. It really doesn't matter what you're a nerd for."
As with its previous two editions, the Nerd Walk will be part of the ASU Homecoming Parade, which follows University Drive westward between Myrtle and McAllister avenues, and will feature a horde of people wearing gold T-shirts with the PBS Nerd logo that Beard designed for the event.
Costumed enthusiasts (natch) are also the norm, as are stilt-walkers, performance artists, and other eclectic examples of nerd-dom who are proudly waving their geek flags high.
"Whatever anybody wants to dress up as and sort of put their nerdiness on display is awesome," Beard says. "I think people like the fact they can make it their own."