After the panel concluded, it was off to the Main Hall for Junior G-pardy. For the uninitiated, G-pardy is Godzilla-themed Jeopardy, just like you see on TV, with J.D. Lees filling in for Alex Trebek. The junior (14 and under) participants dazzled with their kaiju competence, and the contest was up for grabs until the final answer, further pleasing the audience.
Soon after, it was time for the introduction of Mr. Akira Takarada. It was mind-bending to see this iconic actor in person, and he instantly commanded the attention of the room with gracious magnetism. It immediately became apparent that he was going to be a guest of special distinction. In word and action, Mr. Takarada was a consummate professional, yet it seemed as if he was genuinely moved by the reception he received here. After entrancing the audience with a number of compelling comments, mediated through Robert Scott Field, Mr. Takarada surprised everyone by asking for a group photo, coming down from the stage to pose with us fans. It was a heartfelt gesture that set the tone for his visit, creating an ebullient mood among FEST-goers.