In our Travel on a Tankful series, OurQuadCities.com will be sharing interesting places to travel to for a tankful of gas or less!
Iowa: the final frontier…
These are the voyages of the U.S.S. Riverside…
Surrounded by beautiful farmland and small towns and not far from Iowa City, Riverside, Iowa, population of just over 1,000 at the time of the 2020 census, sits along the English River on Iowa Highway 22. Riverside was established in 1872 and incorporated in 1882, and the town is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. While it has a rich history, it’s the town’s ‘future’ that really makes it special.
The city was looking for a theme for its annual town festival in 1985, and Steve Miller, a member of the Riverside City Council who was a Star Trek fan, suggested to the council that Riverside should proclaim itself to be the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk, because Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, mentioned in his book The Making of Star Trek that the character of Kirk was born in a small town in Iowa. Miller’s motion passed unanimously, and the rest, as they say, is history, or, rather, the future.
For the most part, the community of Riverside has embraced the theme. The town is home to The Voyage Home History Center, which showcases Riverside’s past, present and future. Historical city displays coexist with Star Trek memorabilia and displays to celebrate the town’s official designation as the Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Popular photo ops in the surrounding area include the U.S.S. Riverside ship in front of the center, the Captain Kirk statue across the street and the plaque at City Hall proclaiming Riverside as Kirk’s future birthplace.
Additionally, the town celebrates all things Star Trek at its yearly Trek Fest celebration. Trek Fest 2022 is Friday, June 24 and Saturday, June 25. Star Trek actors J.G. Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly will appear in costume and makeup as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Klingon Chancellors Martok and Gowron, and Hollywood makeup artist John Paladin will be transforming the actors into their alien characters.
Live entertainment, tournaments, food, kids’ activities, a parade, vendors and a model show round out the busy weekend.
So the next time you’re in the mood for an out-of-this-world experience, trek over to where many have gone before, Riverside, Iowa, the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk!