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The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

July 5, 2018 Unveiling of New Capt. Kirk Statue
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Hundreds of “Trekkies” descended on Riverside last weekend for Trekfest XXXIV.

The annual event celebrates the future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk with a parade, costume contests and other events.

One of the highlights of this year’s celebration was the unveiling of a bronze statue of Capt. Kirk in Hall Park on Saturday morning.

Former Riverside Councilman Steve Miller, one of the driving forces behind Trekfest, spoke at the unveiling.

“I was on the city council in 1985 and came up with the idea that Riverside should be the future birthplace of Capt. Kirk after reading in the book called ‘The Making of Star Trek’ that he was born in Iowa,” Miller said. “When (Star Trek creator) Mr. (Gene) Roddenberry was contacted, he said, ‘That’s a very enterprising idea. As far as I’m concerned, the first volunteer has it.’”

Miller said his first two goals were to get a bronze statue of Kirk and “to keep Paramount Studios from suing me into poverty.”

“After several years of Trekfest, they came to the realization that we’re making them millions of dollars in free publicity, so they acquiesced,” Miller said.

The next hurdle was getting permission from William Shatner, the actor who portrayed Kirk.

“As fortune would have it, William Shatner came here in 2004, and I gave him a cigar,” Miller said. “Over cigars, he conceded that he wouldn’t have to pay anything for his image to be put into a statue.”

Miller said that the $30,000 cost of the statue, sculpted by Jurek Jakowicz of Sioux Falls, S.D., was paid from a number of sources.

“The city of Riverside donated the income from the casino two years in a row that they got for tourism,” he said. “The Washington County Riverboat Foundation gave a grant to the Riverside Area Community Club for park improvements. The community club gave a dollar for everyone who came to Trekfest a couple of years ago. I put in $325 thinking that would be 1 percent, thinking I could find 99 other fools who would join me – I didn’t.”

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