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. Trekmovie.com 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. Trekmovie.com’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 TrekFest.com.
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’