Sandra Gimpel

Parade grand marshal Sandra Gimpel, center, who played the Salt Vampire in the first Star Trek episode, rode in the captain’s chair in the Trekfest parade.  For more Trekfest photos, see Page 10A.

Trekfest XXXV came to a close Saturday night, and by all accounts, it was a success.

Hundreds of “Trekkies” converged on Riverside over the weekend for the annual celebration of the “future birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that this draws people from all over the place,” Trekfest organizer Andy Rodgers said. “It’s amazing that people put our little town festival on their bucket list.”

Tessa Johnson of Kansas City came to Trekfest with her friend, Abigail Pottker of Kenora, Ontario.

“This is our first Trekfest,” Johnson said, while posing for a photo with the Capt. Kirk statue in Purple Park. “We’re so excited.”

Rachel Sullivan of Iowa City marched in the parade and participated in the costume contest, taking second place in the Federation category.

“This is my first Trekfest,” Sullivan said. “I don’t know much about Star Trek, but I love dressing up in costumes.”

One of this year’s highlights was special guest, Sandra Gimpel, who played the Salt Vampire in the first episode of the original Star Trek series.

Fans lined up at the Voyage Home Museum Friday night, and again at the Riverside Fire Station on Saturday afternoon for a chance to meet the actress and stuntwoman. She also was a guest judge for Saturday’s costume contest.

“Everybody is so nice and so appreciative,” Gimpel said. “I can’t even tell you how fun it is. Everybody knows more about the monsters than I do. 

“Everybody is so gracious. This is so much fun. I’m thankful they invited me. I’m having a ball.”

Rodgers said that Gimpel’s presence helped boost turnout.

“Sandra Gimpel also helped draw in more to the costume contest,” he said.

He was pleased with the overall turnout.

“Overall, I thought we did very well with attendance,” he said. “It was a good year. We had a lot of positive feedback.”

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