Preview of 25th Summer TrekFest – TOS Stars (and TrekMovie) Headed To Riverside, Iowa

In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, James T. Kirk tells Gillian Tayler "I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space", which started in motion an annual tradition in the real town of Riverside, Iowa: Trek Fest. brings you all the details about this annual event, with this 25th anniversary year promising to be the biggest and best yet, with guest stars Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols.

What is Trek Fest?
Trek Fest is a "small town fair with a sci-fi flair", located in Riverside, Iowa, known throughout the world as "The Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk." The annual event mixes both traditional Americana events (demolition derbies, parades, concerts, games, and food) with Star Trek (costume contests, swap meets, Star Trek-themed fireworks, and celebrity guest talks). Trek Fest is really one of the few family Star Trek fan events available, and there is something for everyone.

Riverside’s ‘USS Riverside’

This year, the event is themed "The Voyage Home" and it begins on Friday, June 26th. That evening there will be a food and beer garden, carnival rides and games, a kid’s parade and a pet show. There is also the demolition derby.’s own John Tenuto, who is also a college professor with a specialization in popular culture and Star Trek history, will be at the Riverside Museum to give a free talk on Friday.

On Saturday, June 27th, the day begins with a parade featuring Star Trek floats, and Koenig, Nichols, and Takei participating. This is followed by a Star Trek costume contest (with the celebs judging the event), a volleyball tournament, Star Trek and Invasion Iowa episode showings, and Star Trek themed Federation Games for families (Edosian Three Legged Race, the Tribble Wack, Star Trek Piñatas, and Pin the Tail on the Kzinti are a few of the events).

Parade held every year at Riverside’s TrekFest

Saturday afternoon at the Riverside Casino and Hotel, there will be a question and answer session with Koenig, Nichols, and Takei, followed by autographs and picture sessions. There will also be a dealer’s room. The Q&A starts with a talk from Tenuto who will show never before seen Star Trek photos from the Nicholas Meyer Collection at the University of Iowa. Saturday ends with an amazing Star Trek themed fireworks display.

Most outdoor events are free (parade, games, fireworks) or have a nominal fee. The Riverside Casino and Hotel Q&A and Autograph Session with the celebrities does require a purchased ticket, of which there are two varieties. There is a $25 ticket which gets admittance to the talk, and if fans would like autographs, there is a nominal fee. The $125 ticket includes entrance to the event, a special 25th anniversary Trek Fest T-shirt, and a photo and autograph session with Takei, Nichols, and Koenig. [CLICK TO PURCHASE TICKETS]. A complete schedule of events is available at

Riverside even has its own shuttlecraft

Riverside, Iowa and Star Trek
The town of Riverside, Iowa has roots with Star Trek that predate the mention of Iowa in Star Trek IV. In The Making of Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry and Stephen Whitfield, there is a reference to Kirk being born in a small town in Iowa. In the 1980s, councilman Steve Miller asked Gene Roddenberry if the honor of being Kirk’s hometown could belong to Riverside, and permission was granted. Since then, Riverside has been mentioned in Star Trek novels and gets it first on-screen appearance and mention in this summer’s Star Trek feature film (with childhood scenes of a young Jim Kirk and the USS Enterprise built at the Riverside Ship Yards). The real Riverside is also the town that was featured in William Shatner’s television show Invasion Iowa. Riverside is also one of the stops in the new geek road trip comedy Fanboys, where the Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans get into a fight.

Riverside Ship Yards in new ‘Star Trek’

Other Trekkie Fun
Besides the events, there are some other cool Star Trek attractions in the town. The town’s welcome sign is themed Star Trek. There is a constitution class Starship replica which is about 25 feet long in the town, and there is a sign commemorating Kirk’s birth. There are full sized replicas of a TNG era shuttle and a wooden Captain Kirk statue. The new Riverside Museum features items from both Star Trek and Iowa history.

Riverside Iowa is proud of its ‘future history’

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Half the kids born in Riverside in 2228 will be named ‘James.’

Well, I certainly know where I’m moving at some point in my life.

Wow, how cool is that.
Since 1984 I tell everyone “I am from Holstein, I just work in…”

i visited last year and was planning to go this year till my girlfriend from iowa broke up with me :(

aww srew her im going anyway!

What a great place to be a nerd. I’m so envious.

I live in Iowa City and had the chance to go before, but missed out. I’m most certainly going this June! Sounds like fun, especially since the movie will be out by then.

ST canon [Memory Alpha, as well as other sources] says Jim’s birthday should be Mar. 22, 2233. I know that date differs than the one pictured on the plaque above, and may cause some debates here – and in Riverside. That’s okay: that’s a healthy debate to tackle, and one that may be easier corrected than one might assume. Perhaps the date-descrepancy will be settled once and for all in ST XI, when Winona Kirk is shown giving birth to baby-James. Bob, Alex?

Awesomeness incarnate. If my yard was big enough, I’d love to have a garden shed just like that shuttlecraft.

Love all the info and pics, but is there not a picture available of the wooden James T. Kirk statue? Would LOVE to see that.

in attendance… Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols.

Interesting the ones attending the Kirk festival are the ones who hate Shatner.

9 “Interesting the ones attending the Kirk festival are the ones who hate Shatner”

May be there will be a raw nerve :-)

#8 If you want to see a wooden Kirk just check out Star Trek 5….

Just in case it was missed, my tongue is very much in my cheek here!

I’ve GOT to see fanboys. A Star Wars/Star Trek brawl: CLASSIC! Bet my Klingon can beat up your Wookie. . . The Cylon Centurions can referee!

#9 Do we really have to perpetuate that? Let it go, man. Let it go.


I’m not trying to perpetuate anything. Just stating what I think is a very ironic fact. I love Shatner.

Kirk is an Aries?

Of course he is.

#11—” If you want to see a wooden Kirk just check out Star Trek 5….”


14. I think Shatner is missing a wonderful “raw nerve” opportunity if he doesn’t go to Riverside in June.

If I still lived in Iowa I’d be there in a second. However I enjoy telling people, “I was born in Iowa, I only work in outer space.”

While on a two week driving vacation with my family back in ’05, we stopped in Riverside for the 20th anniversary Trek Fest. It’s a very small town with a population of under 900. There was a parade with floats, costume contests, crafts and memorabilia sales, food, etc. A projector was set up in a barn and they were showing TOS episodes. It was a fun time. The people were stereotypical friendly and inviting midwest Americans. If I could make it for the 25th, I’b be there.

They will have long time egg on their faces if they find out that future Kirk lied about being born in Riverside, IA and that it was Riverside, CA, instead.

I wouldn’t want to be them…then. Live high now you Iowans….in 219 years we will know the truth. Mark my words.

Shatner’s “Invasion: Iowa!” special came across as just plain mean-spirited. The towwnspeople shown couldn’t have been nicer even when they learned he was poking fun at their expense. Shat and crew did some nice things for them at the end but the end didn’t justify the means at all.

Gene roddenberry liked to use historical references a lot in Trek. By making his Chief Engineer Scottish, because of Scotland’s history of producing great Engineers. However, I think Trek missed the boat on James Kirk. He should be from Ohio, with it’s history of producing the greatest, and most famous astronauts/aviation pioneers; the Wright brothers, Neil Armstrong and John Glen.


Just what we need, another Consitution class ship that looks better than the movie version.

Ok. I may have to take a Star Trek Vacation this Summer. First Ill go to Vegas and see the Experence. Then to Iowa to see Kirk. Then if the Traveling Musiem is up and running ill go to that as well. Sounds like ill be haveing a lot of fun this summer.

Anyone know how many people show up?

The correct date of birth: March 22, 2233


(I’m quite happy right now. You see, I like in Nebraska, exactly 10 minutes away from the western border of Iowa, and perhaps I can convince my loving father to take me to Riverside the week/end that the TrekFest takes place. I will definitely try to go to this. ;3 Would be better in Council Bluffs, though; closer to me.)

#22 :: I think Kirk should’ve been from Nebraska ’cause we have HUSKER FOOTBALL. WHOOO– -bricks thrown at her- I was just kidding. Seriously. x3; Couldn’t resist.

I hope Iowagirl will be there!

Demolition derby? Is that where people compete to jump out of cars before they drive them over the cliff?

According to Dax in Trials and Tribble-lations Leonard McCoy was an alumnus of the University of Mississippi aka Ole Miss!

I wish more was made of that!

True not exactly a birthplace, a cool deal for my home state anyway!


It still strikes me as cool when I see George Takei, Nichelle Nichols, and Walter Koenig going out to these kind of events. They have not only embraced their peculiar stardom, but have made wholehearted attempts to be as accessible as possible to the people (i.e. us, the fans) that helped turn them into living legends. Bravo and kudos to them for being there for the fans.

— KZ

Last September my 14yo cousin and I were driving cross-country, and we excitedly made a diversion to see Riverside. Sad to say we were terribly disappointed. The townspeople we spoke with seemed disinterested in Trek. While I enjoyed the constitution class starship, we were never told of a Captain Kirk statue or of the pictured birth sign, both of which I would have liked to have seen.

There was a small gift-shop/museum in town where I could see some Trek items through the window, but it was only open one day a week. All in all, it was a long way to drive for very little to see.

Where’s my wife in all this? Where are you,

Klingt fast genauso gut! :D

Me too – I bet you it still looks like Shatner. :D

How I wish we could meet and talk about absent friends…;-)

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it as I’m from Germany – I only live in Iowa in my mind…

I am here, Beloved!

Iowa, my spiritual home, future home of the one and only Kirk is waiting for me, I know – one day, I’m gonna fly my shuttle on The Voyage Home. You’re coming with me?

A little something for Iowagirl:



Yesss, THIS is the screen I wanna see! :) Thanks, my friend.

The real Riverside is in California………..

For anyone curious, photos of the town and Kirk locations (future birthplace, future “conception place” and the museum) are here:

I will be updating with more after the event. Also, I have posted a YouTube video montage of the town as well (though the USS Riverside is in dry dock somewhere being refurbished, so I have yet to see it).

It was really cool to stumble upon you! I’m from Vulcan Alberta where we have Our anual Spok days and Galaxy fest. We almost had the new movie premier but we were short the required facilities. I found you researching some “Trek” murals that I may paint this summer. If ever I get down your way I’ll have to stop for a visit!