Friday night included drinks and live music. Festivities on Saturday morning started at 10AM with the parade! Steve Miller was the grand marshal. It was like most small towns or county parades. Most of the emergency vehicles in the county came. The firefighter's families rode on the fire trucks and waved to their friends. All the children's sports teams- teams supported by the funds raised during TrekFest- had floats. It was fun seeing the little kids wave at and heckle their families and classmates. The shriners and a bunch of local businesses as well as Operation Homefront also had floats or cars. And, there was no shortage of tractors! Most floats or cars handed out candy and all the kids along the parade route had bags to hoard it in. Operation Homefront, a group that supports families of the troops, handed out teddy bears. They also had a handful of local beauty queens!
Below the cut are the highlights from the parade. I got multiple shots of every float and at least one picture of almost every car and group that was in the parade. You can view the nicer ones in my Facebook gallery or download my complete set of parade photos. I got shots of every section of the parade route, too, so if you were in attendance I might have taken your photo!
The REAL Iowa! Notice the lack of sand.
The parade route was only a few blocks long and ran through the center of town. The town only has a population of about 900 people, though, so the center of town was still pretty light on buildings and businesses. This was the far end of the street....
....and this was the beginning.
The few street lights along the main street had these nice signs decorating them. Hee!
Steve Miller started the parade off as grand marshal.
He was followed by the high school marching band and a bunch of guys on motorcycles.
There were at least a dozen fire trucks and ambulances in the parade from all the small nearby townships. They ranged in size and age from the modern large firetrucks that we're all used to all the way through some interesting tiny old trucks I never knew existed. Here you can see the families on top waving and throwing candy.
After all the emergency vehicles had passed, it was time for the actors! George was really excited and chipper. Walter sat in his chair at the con and looked tired. It was hot out. I don't blame him. Nichelle was in the captain's chair and waived like royalty and looked like royalty too.
Lots of people chronicled the passing of the bridge float. Have a look at the 5 videos below for poetry in motion!
There were a bunch of people in costume on the back of the float. Most later participated in the costume contest.
I believe this group was the community foundation that put on the events of the day.
After the actor's float were the community junior league sports teams that the TrekFest helps to fund. Can you imagine a little baby Kirk on one of these floats? I can almost. More like George.
A few more below.
The Voyage Home was the theme for this year's festival.
The kids were cute an onry. I had local kids sitting with their families on either side of me. You can see them popping into the frame in a lot of these photos. Because the kids on most of the floats were their classmates, they were heckling each other and begging for candy all throughout the parade. It was really cute.
Every local parade has to have Shriners. It's like the law. This group had some of the coolest vehicles of any group of Shriners I've seen.
CAUTION ADULTS AT PLAY
Meet the graduating class of 1941! The local graduates. This was one part funny and one part sweet. Like a homecoming parade!
The 501st! For the Trekkies unaware of Star Wars fan culture, the 501st is a really organized group of costumers and enthusiasts who just shine at events like this.
No Star Trek vs. Star Wars rivalry here! All's fair in love and scifi. The Mon Mothma in the back on the right had a tribble. Aw.
Then came the Star Trek floats and vehicles.
The Horta Car!
And, the Klingon bird of prey. *pew, pew*
My photo is horrible, but this is a full, real metal costume. There's a woman in there. She's dressed as Satan's Robot from the Dr. Chaotica/ The Adventures of Captain Proton Voyager episodes where Tom and Harry recreate a vintage black and white scifi film era world on the holodeck.
Then it was tractors...
Local business float for Casey's (General Store, I think.)
One of the local banks.
One of the local churches.
...and a local sign maker with a firm opinion on government! This is just a sample of the dozen plus floats and trucks from local businesses that entered the parade.
Washington County Beef Queen: Allison Stanley
Washington County Fair Queen: Natalie Friese
Washington County Pork Queen: Tara Ghent
And, like all local parades, it ended with horses.
...and rodeo clowns on bulls! WTF! Actually, these are probably the people who were in charge of the Saturday night rodeo.
And with that the parade was over. Buh-bye!
It lasted longer than I thought it would and was quite charming. I got into a long conversation with the grandmother of three who was sitting next to me. She was nothing but sweet and wonderful and polite. She loved that we'd come from a whole state away just to see the festival. She works at VA in Iowa City, where I went to college, and we talked on and on about Iowa City and the history of the festival. She agreed that this year's turn out was much higher than last year's and attributed it to the movie.
The rest of the fair grounds were spread out between one park area (with a softball field, stage, playground and volleyball court) and another park area (with a playground and open sided shelter).
The shelter was, I believe, where they held Cow Chip Bingo!
Nice cars were on display by the later park. The hoods were up and the owners usually sticking nearby ready to talk shop and brag a little. For the most part I didn't care, but...
One guy had a Bumblebee from Transformers!
It was complete with University of Iowa vanity plates. I can't imagine how expensive this car was. Lots of people wanted pictures.
My dad and I headed over to the larger fair grounds right away. We didn't take advantage of the kiddie rides or carnival games, though.
The tents with merchandise were rather crowded. Ah, but who is this?
Jen aka jacketpotato (and cute baby!), mizuno_caitlin . Jen spotted me and the GQ sign on my bag and came over to introduce herself. The little one didn't appreciate the heat but we were able to wander around and take pictures for a while.
Attack by Klingons! I think there were two Klingon couples at the festival.
Around the corner from the sales tables was the stage where the costume contest was going on. The people running it obviously were not in theatre in high school and clustered the competitors towards the back of the stage so nobody could see.
The 501st started off the show honoring George Takei!
The Starfleet officers were the first group to compete. Pon Farr Spock and Kirk, a father and son costume duo using a knitted scarf for the Pon Farr sash, won second place. And, a Mirror Universe Uhura won first place!
Between the first and second categories for the costume contest the local radio station conducted a special interview with the stars. I can't remember the name of the station, but they have a regular segment during which they call troops stationed overseas. George, Nichelle, and Walter all said hello and gave their wellwishes to the guys and girls listening abroad. It was a great gesture.
Walter talks to the troops.
Even though the view was obstructed, there was quite an audience!
The second group in the costume contest was all non-Starfleet. We have here Satan's Robot, Amanda Grayson, 2 Orions, a Horta complete with eggs that he layed, and 3 Klingons...
One of whom asked during his intro if anyone had seen where he parked his cloaked ship. He seemed to have forgotten~.
The Horta was hilarious! He ran around the stage and layed an egg and then was defeated by Spock. You can see it all in the video above! His wife and kids were in the audience. His kids though it was awesome seeing dad on stage.
I believe Walter's question was about if the couple who brought the Satan's Robot made it themselves.
The winners were Satan's Robot and the Horta. I think the Horta was second place.
The last category was for kids. The baby on the left is "Baby Katherine Janeway". Then we have Captain and Admiral Kirk respectivly. Last up is the winner, Litle Sulu! The Naked Time Edition! When it was his turn to pose, he jumped out just like in the episode. The kid's a real fan. No joke. I sat next to him during the Q&A. He picked the outfit himself.
Let's just say they didn't have to debate much. Little Sulu won.
After the costume contest was over, I met back up with jacketpotato who now had longleggedgit in tow! After this jacketpotato and her little one had to get out of the heat.
longleggedgit won our award for most GQ bag!
There was only about a half an hour to kill before the Q&A/autograph session so my dad and I headed over to the Star Trek Museum!
Inside had a few Iowa artifacts..
And some things from Invasion Iowa.
Oh, Invasion Iowa.
Much of the inside of the "Museum" is photos.
And, of course, commemorative items from the festival. The bags on the bottom right are the famous "Kirk Dirt" that you can buy.
On the way out there's a nice statue of Kirk. Not the same as the one in the Fanboys movie!
Generous or no?
Funny story: At the Q&A Steve Miller talked about when they made the statue and nominated the town as Kirk's future birthplace. He said he received a letter a few weeks later from none other than William Shatner's mother. She was elated that somewhere out there was a statue honoring her son. It was a sweet story. During Invasion Iowa when Shatner came and played a sort of reality show practical joke on the town, Steve showed the letter to Shatner. Turns out the letter was written just a few weeks before William Shatner's mother had died. So, she had a little extra burst of pride in her son before her passing. I think that's a lovely story, don't you?
There was a bit of a line to get into the Q&A, but tickets had seat numbers so it wasn't a big deal.
The Q&A started with Steve Miller going on about how TrekFest started. When Gene Roddenberry wrote the guide to Star Trek, he originally listed Kirk's hometown as "A small town in Iowa." In 1985, Steve Miller who was on the city council for a small Iowa town named "Riverside" noticed this and proposed to his city council that they nominated themselves. They voted. Gene agreed. It became official. This year was the 25th anniversary of thier TrekFest in honor of "Riverside's favorite (unborn) son" and the honored guests were Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koening, and George Takei. The money generated goes straight back into the town in the form of financing for scholarships, little league teams, the fire department/ambulance service and other such things. It's a sweet town full of the nicest people you could meet.
After giving his intro, they called out the stars who each had a chance to speak before questions were taken. George went first followed by Nichelle and Walter. Most of these intros are below the cut. So far I haven't been able to find video of the first few minutes. Nichelle started to tease George about how he was Gullible with a capitol "G". He took offense and said he was just trusting and people violated his trust! Nichelle then turned to Walter and said that he could pull one over on George at any time...which he did a few minutes later. The three intros under the cut.
Here's what the tickets to the Q&A/Autograph session looked like. The event was held at Riverside Casino and Resort.
George Takei talks about what he's been up to lately.
George Takei:...Sirius subscribers who listen to Howard Stern. I'll be back next month. So, that's beeen keeping me busy. And this winter if you feel like a DeKinsian Christmas come to London! Because November, December, and January I'll be doing a musical version of Aladdin playing the Emperor of China so won't that be wonderful to have the Dekinsian Christmas and see Aladdin with me playing the Chinese Emperor. So that's what I've been up to.
I'm pretty sure the production of Aladdin in London he's talking about is this one at Hackney Empire? I'm not sure. Either way it sounds kinda cool. If I were a Londoner I'd be pretty tempted to go! The video cut off, but he also plugged the gig he has coming up on the 4th narrating a scifi themed show for the San Franscisco Symphony.
Nichelle Nichols: Well a lot has been happening with me and since this will probably be the last time I see any of you. I've done a number of independant movies with a variety of roles- One which I starred in with my esteemed colleague *gestures to Walter*. And-
Walter Koening: ???
Nichelle Nichols: ...the esteemed colleague to my right, Mr. Koening. And it's called Of Gods and Men.
Steve Miller: *incoherant* ...so we could get on with the program to a mixture of Boos and Hisses.... (He's telling the stars that they were showing "Of Gods and Men" on the main screen before the event started and when they turned it off to start the event, the audience booed because they were starting to get into it and like it.)
Nichelle Nichols: And, two or three others-some are out, one I didn't like, another one I did like called Tru Loved. I played a
George Takei: What movie?
Nichelle Nichols: Dwi..? The girl was in the... *pokes Walter* You remember.
Audience: *giggle fit*
George Takei: I haven't the foggiest what she's talking about.
Walter Koening: Zelda?
Nichelle Nichols: No..
George Takei: *incoherant*
Walter Koening: From England?
Nichelle Nichols: Stop it!
George Takei: What are you talking about? Let's see if we can help you.
Nichelle Nichols: *crosses her arms* Anyway! Anyway, Somehow I got. *shoves a giggling Walter in the arm* That's not... It's not supposed to be a comedy but apparently my friends turned it into a comedy. They just gave me the best lines ever and I'm like this...
George Takei: What's the movie called?
Nichelle Nichols: Tru Loved. T-R-U as in Gertrude. And..
Walter Koening: Oh! That's it! Gertrude!
George Takei: ???
Nichelle Nichols: but the name that I was trying to think of was some years ago of a young woman in college. In high school and college. And she was having a crush on this boy who was in love with her but she was the "la-de-da lady" and she has long curly hair and his name was Duane~
Audience: Jasmine Guy
Nichelle Nichols: Jasmine Guy! Thank you.
The above and below videos cover Walter's introduction, but one cuts off early.
Walter was feeling sort of down during the parade and first part of the Q&A. Don't know if it was the heat or what, but during his intro he lied and said it was his birthday to get some applause. He immediatly fessed up that it wasn't his birthday and he just wanted to feel some love. It was really comical and cute. But, George actually believed him for a second! Gullible with a capitol "G" indeed!
Walter Koening: Today is my birthday.
Audience: *goes crazy*
Walter Koening: *laughing* No it isn't but I needed applause!
Nichelle Nichols: *facepalm* ~Happy Birthday Whenever~.
Walter Koening: You know my birthday is on the same day that George and Brad got married. So I'm used to saying at least somebody is having a really good time on my birthday!
George Takei: *huge laugh* Well we got married on September the 14th.
Walter Koening: I know.
George Takei: And that's your birthday?
Waler Koening: Correct!
Nichelle Nichols: Wow, George. Wow.
George Takei: You have shattered all the trust I had in you! You've exposed yourself as a liar.
Nichelle Nichols: He's not a liar.
George Takei: Today isn't his birthday.
Nichelle Nichols: He gave that to the audience so that they could share on September the 4th this miracle that happened and he could not be here on September the 4th and so he got his applause now.
Walter Koening: *nearly falls out of his chair*
Audience: *wild applause*
Walter Koening: Ok. Other than that I don't have a lot going on. However, um, a couple years ago I wrote and was one of the producers on a motion picture called InAleinable. Richard Hatch had a really good performance in it... Martina Sirtis and a lot of other science fiction people that you know. And, Richard was absolutely brilliant. The picture has undergone some machinations in terms of distribution and we now have a comittment to a very prestigious DVD distrubution company called Anchor Bay. The picture will be released and sold over the internet under our own label and picked up by Anchor Bay. So that will be sold on DVD some time in the late summer/early fall. Beyond that, years and years and YEARS ago I wrote a novel of satiric fantasy called Buck Alice And the Actor-robot. It took 18 years for it to be published and then another 18 years for it to be republished. And then last summer I was approached by a radio drama theatre company in Boston and they wanted to adapt it to a radio drama. So I came back East, hired 36 actors, and we put in some hours on audio tape. I think its going to be fun. It should have been out by now but the engineer/editor had some serious illness in his family. And that's going to be available by the end of the summer so hopefully you should be able to find it in Waldens and other book distributors. It'll also be on Sirius radio because the guy who owns the studio has a program there.
George Takei: I don't love you. (?)
Nichelle Nichols: But that's what's been happening to me. I think there's some other things but I can't think of them.
A fan makes a joke about birthdays after Walter's applause ham false birthday claim.
The boys were feeling a little neglected so they suggested that because answers to each question were getting long, it was only fair to make all questions here on out directed to one cast member only. Nichelle took issue with this. The boys caved. The questioner then went into a query for Nichelle about nuTrek's Spock/Uhura surprise. This video covers the first part of her response. See the video below for her complete response.
Walter Koening: I think JJ Abrams just did that to shake it up a little bit. I don't see this as organically evolving. I think he just wanted something that would be different. So, uh, well this is my guess. I don't have any inside information. But, that's what I think. It is a shock and I don't think it feels like something you would expect.
Steve Miller: Nichelle would you like to say something?
Nichelle Nichols: Um. Gene Roddenberry originally did not want to write, was not writing a science fiction film. He wanted to write about the human condition between men and women of all races that... That reflected American and reflected out to the world. And, uh, thereby have high drama. Um. *sigh* So when I went ot interview for the role before Paramount and NBC knew I was going to be on, the roll had not been written and I read a scene that they asked me to read that was three characters: Somebody named Kirk, somebody named Bones, and somebody named Spock. And they asked me if I would read for this role of the person named Spock. And I said "Fine" because it was a long scene and he had a big part. And I thought this was the role and I said, "Tell me about this character. What is she like?" And they looked at me like I was crazy and said "It's not.. He's not.. Spock is not a she, Spock is a he, we just haven't written a role yet but this can... we can see from here." And I said, "Could she be a woman?" And they said "Leonard Nimoy would not like it". And so I said tell me something about the character and I'll read as though I was reading for the character. To make a long story short I got the role. But, I took my reading from what they told me Spock was about. In developing that character, and I told Gene Roddenberry about it when he decided on the book I was reading which was a Treaty from Africa called "Uhuru". He said he wanted to use that but he said why don't we do a little alliteration on it it because he said it was too harsh. And, I said "make it Uhura" and he said you've named your character it belongs to you. And I set forth then, he said "You come from the United States of Africa. I've just decided." And I decided then from the character that I read [Spock] that I wanted to be very much like that character but in a feminine way. And Gene said, and I was sharing this with George the other day, when I told him that I thought of Spock as my mentor. Because if you remember Uhura was the only one he was able to teach the Vulcan lyre too and he sang and spooffed on Spock. Now, you could have never had a love scene in 63 between Uhura and Spock but there were several hints and Gene was one in the kind of beginning to follow that and he wanted to do episodes if we had gone past the third year, because this is about the 3rd year we were talking, he wanted to do episodes that got into all of the stars life so that you had not one star or two stars and supporting cast, which we really are not. *laugh* But that was the essence of that. And, JJ was a big Star Trek fan and he invited me to lunch and I told him about creating the character. Whether he got and what my relationship with Spock, um, whether he got that idea from there I don't know. If he took it and ran with it and thought "Wow". And, having said that, it might very well have been coming from exactly where Walter really realized it that had you all sitting here going "What was that?" "When did that happen?" So, um, it shocked me a bit.
Steve Miller: It was a fun part. We looked at it from Riverside of course. Captain Kirk is supposed to be born here. They had the AU obviously, born in outer space. But, it's the first movies Riverside's actually been named in. They had the Riverside Shipyard...
Another fan asked what each actors' "role that got away" was. Walter said without a doubt that his was Helter Skelter. Nichelle said The Singing Nun. George said his more interesting story wasn't the one that got away, but the one that WOULD have gotten away had it not been for Star Trek: Blood Oath/Prisoners of the Sun about the war crimes trials of Japenes officials post-WWII. Most of the Japanese actors were cast straight out of Japan, but George's noteriety helped him land the leading role he wanted anyway!
A small child in the audience got the microphone and asked Nichelle Nichols if she still had a Tribble. After a few "aws" and chuckles from the audience, and praise of the kid's cuteness from Nichelle, she answered that the trouble with tribbles really is that they multiply endlessly. Since her character had loved them, fans were always giving them to her and over the years she regularly ended up with more than she knew what to do with!
Stolen from longleggedgit !
After the Q&A session was over, it was time for photos! A ticket to get your picture professionally taken with all three cast members cost $20. Autographs cost $15. The proceeds go back into the community. I was sun burnt with messy hair and not much spare cash so I decided not to get a photo.
This meant that anyone just getting an autograph had a few hours to kill. I made fast friends with the lovely people you see above which included gentlest_sin ! We nerded out and talked Trek for three straight hours. THREE STRAIGHT HOURS. An age range of a good 30 years and we got along like we'd known each other for years.
Our section was last in line for autographs. Literally the cut off was ten minutes away by the time we were allowed to get in line. But, it was worth it!
IGNORE MY FATHER'S FINGER. I was a dork. I couldn't manage to saying anything more than "Will you sign this?" when I got up to Nichelle's table. I was that star struck.
Yay! I picked the plate up at a table in the vendor tent area. Figured it would last longer and be more fun to display on my nerdy shelves. longleggedgit got one, too!
Mara and Wyatt got a full set of autographs.
After that, I think we all retired and died. I was exhausted. My father and I decided that we would fall asleep during the fireworks show so we'd be better to just not go.
Here are a few other reports and photo sets for the TrekFest!
longleggedgit posted a Gallery
gentlest_sin posted a Report
Someone on YouTube has a teaser for a mini documentary/internet show on the 25th Trekfest
Also, if you saw something you wanted a larger version of, all my photos are backed up in zipped archives on Megaupload: 1/3 (Mostly Parade), 2/3 (Mostly Costume Contest, 3/3 (Mostly Q&A Session)
TrekMovie.com: A rundown featuring my video
Gazzette Online: Where’s Jamie? At TrekFest
Daily Iowan: Making the Trek to Riverside’s annual gathering
Des Moines Register: 'Star Trek' festival sizzles with stars in Riverside
Crossposted to ontd_startrek and my personal journal.