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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Live long and prosper

Thousands beam into Riverside for 34th annual TrekFest
By By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News | Jul 03, 2018

RIVERSIDE — Riverside was flooded with people this weekend when over 5,000 Star Trek fans came out to show their love. The two-day festival began Friday and ran through Saturday night, ending with fireworks at dusk.

Jeff Showalter, the emcee for the event, explained TrekFest first began in 1984 with the help of council member Steve Miller. In the show, Captain Kirk mentions he is from a small town in Iowa, but does not name which one. Miller contacted television executives and got Riverside accredited as the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk.

For the last 34 years, Riversidians have proudly hosted a slew of celebrities including William Shatner and Walter Koenig. No celebrities were able to make it this year, but a statue of Kirk was unveiled and dedicated in his honor in the park. The statue was cast in Sioux City and will make its home in Hall Park.

Despite the heat, people of all ages came out to enjoy the celebration and for the love of community. Showalter said the show brought people together because of its approach to social issues. “It was way ahead of its time, he said. “People come from all around.”

Among those people are Connie Franklin, who drove over 10 hours from Tennessee just for the event. The Muscatine native hadn’t been back to TrekFest in over 20 years but managed to score second place in the costume contest with a dress she sewed herself.

To begin Saturday’s events, the annual parade marched through town and boasted over 50 entries. People were dressed in full costume and some even decorated their cars to resemble the Star Ship Enterprise. Everyone from babies to adults wore their Star Trek gear and showed their love for the show, and their community.

Riverside Mayor Allen Schneider said hosting TrekFest is more than just a science fiction festival, it’s about putting their town on the map for a positive reason. “It’s something that sets our community apart from other towns around here,” he said. “It’s our claim to fame.”

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