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Twentieth Annual 'Screechfest' Draws Dozens
SAN JOSE, Calif. (CAP) - More than three dozen star-struck fans of the iconic show Saved By The Bell packed the San Jose Convention Center for the 20th annual Screechfest, a conference dedicated to the series' breakout character Samuel "Screech" Powers, portrayed by Dustin Diamond.
"This was the best Screechfest in years," commented Wyatt Weiss, who covered the event for SBTBOnline.org, a website devoted to the titular series. "These things got a little weird after Dusty released that sex tape back in 2006, but I think everyone's pretty much over that by now.
"So I can safely say that this was a least the fourth or fifth best Screechfest ever," he added. "Well done, organizers, well done."
Screechfest began in 1993 at the height of popular appetite for the show. While it has all the glitz and glamor of a high-end television convention, county records indicate that the organization behind the convention consists of little more than Diamond, his step-brother, and a VHS machine that plays old tapes of the show.
"From the posters to the videos to Dustin's key note speech on Sunday night, the whole thing was just awesome," said Michelle Brookfield, who lamented having second row seats. "I can assure you that won't happen next year - I'm going to be there early to make sure I'm in the front row, or, as Dustin calls it, the splash zone.
"I'm still not sure what that means, but I want to find out!" she said.
First-time attendee Colin Dickson said after spending his whole life watching SBTB on TV, meeting the biggest of all the stars of the show was a dream come true.
"You get to talk to him, get his autograph, and give him ten bucks to wash the windshield on your car," Dickson said. "I mean, he doesn't smell exactly the way I thought he would or the way I'd want him to, but meeting Screech Powers was truly a thrill and an honor."
Not all attendees had the same positive reaction, like Debbie Sanchez who misread the program online and thought it said Dennis Haysbert of 24 and The Unit was doing a meet and greet.
"But when I got there, I realized it was Dennis Haskins, aka Mr. Belding, which does make more sense in the context of it being Screechfest and all," Sanchez said. "Well, eight bucks and a lesson learned, I suppose. Do you know how to get to the free clinic from here? I think I might need some shots..."
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