A group that’s new to the Fourth of July parade will march down State Street this year, and they come bearing phasers. Members of the Santa Barbara/Goleta chapter of the International Federation of Trekkers, or, as they are otherwise known, the crew of the USS Chumash, will join the procession and boldly go where no Star Trek fan club has gone before.
The theme of this year’s parade, which is organized annually by the Spirit of ‘76 organization, is “The American Spirit: Enduring Optimism,” so the IFT’s participation is actually fitting. Although much of science fiction portrays the future as full of man-eating aliens, killer robots, and general societal mayhem, Star Trek is notable for its rosy view of the future.
The parade’s theme is what provided the initial draw to the parade for the USS Chumash’s Captain, Barbara Delgado. “I saw enduring optimism and I thought, ‘How perfect! Star Trek is all about enduring optimism.’” The group, according to Delgado, is based on Gene Roddenbery’s principles of hope for the future and the importance of the individual.
“Some people think we are just Trekkies,” Delgado commented. It turns out that there is a big distinction between Trekkers and Trekkies in the Trek fanverse. Trekkies, Delgado said, are the ones marathoning the movies and dressing up for conventions. However, for Trekkers, it is just as much about philosophy and public service as it is about latex Vulcan ears.
“In the series, the ship went out to go and help the people in the galaxy,” said Delgado, “and we are out to help the community.” Some of their potential projects include providing signing entertainment for the elderly, contributing to the American Indian Education Foundation, and setting up a class on the philosophy of Star Trek at libraries in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
The members of the USS Chumash, ranging in age from 11 to 87, will march in the Independence Day parade in uniform and flying the flag of the United Federation of Planets right alongside the Stars and Stripes. Delgado said that anybody who subscribes to Star Trek’s humanitarian philosophies and wants to march with them is welcome to do so. “Anybody who wants to join us, we’ll have props for them,” she said.