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On Sunday, July 15, from 1-3 p.m., the Honey Brook Library will be hosting an appearance by Garrison Carida, the local unit of the 501st Legion of Star Wars characters. The 501st Legion is a worldwide all-volunteer professional costuming organization dedicated to the Dark Side Characters of the Star Wars universe. As a fan organization with over 5200 members in more than 40 countries around the world, the 501st Legion is widely recognized the world’s premiere Star Wars costuming group. When the 501st comes to town, characters such as Darth Vader, Darth Maul, bounty hunters like Boba Fett, as well as the various units of the Clone and Imperial Armies, will step off the screen and into communities. The event is for all ages, and all are welcome to dress up as their favorite Star Wars character.
“The 501st loves libraries and we are looking forward to having them here,” said the library’s Youth Services Coordinator Jennifer Spade, a self-described Star Wars geek by marriage, “We hope this event gets people to come out for the first time to see what the library has to offer.”
The purpose of the two hour program is to allow for children and adults alike to experience real live Star Wars characters, who will be there to promote literacy and reading in today’s youth while keeping the attendees fascinated with their movie quality costumes from arguably the greatest movie saga ever told.
Spades’ co-worker, Assistant Director Nancy Conner, loves Start Wars and wanted for some time to host a Star Wars event at the library. When Spade, who has a sister-in-law who knows a member of Garrison Carida, caught wind of the idea she thought it could not hurt to try and reach out to the group.
“They were absolutely great and we had the event booked within two days,” she said. “We were able to grab one of the last open events available – which is why it is being held on a Sunday.”
While some fans are content to collect action figures, other fans - such as those who make up the 501st - want to be action figures. Their outlook is that nothing professes passion quite like building one’s own detailed costume replica of a classic Star Wars villain, and that nothing is quite like the feeling that comes from bringing the characters of Star Wars into the real world and sharing the magic with others.
Although their organization was founded to simply provide a collective identity for costuming fans with similar interests, the 501st puts its resources to good use through fundraising, charity work, and volunteerism. Their members are eager to volunteer their time and talents, and they never accept payment for their appearances. Among the organizations they have worked with include Walk Now For Autism, Children’s Miracle Network, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Alfred I. Dupont Children’s Hospital, Make-A-Wish, Relay for Life, and the Special Olympics.
With the 501st typically attracting crowds of 200-300 people, the library will hold the event outside beneath a tent.
“Our tent can hold up to 300 people,” said Spade, “we just want to ask people to be sure to bring their chairs and blankets (for seating). We will begin promptly at 1 p.m., so make sure that you get there early if you want a good seat. We are also asking that people register for the event, so that we know how many guest we can expect.”
She also had information for parking arrangements.
“We are asking that people please carpool because they are expecting a large number of attendees,” said Spade. “There are places to park nearby, but there is no parking allowed on Route 10.”
Starting at 1 p.m. will be character arrival and character introduction, featuring music and narrated by a Carida Emcee using a public address system.
At 1:30, the Carida Emcee will direct some Star Wars trivia, followed at 2 p.m. by a Q&A period where parents and kids can ask the characters questions.
Following the Q&A, Spade – who will be appearing in costume – will address the public about literacy and the benefits of belonging to and supporting the library. Upon completion of Spade’s discussion, Garrison Carida will distribute Star Wars trading cards and stickers to the public.
There will also be two costume contests, one for kids aged 0-5 and another for those aged 6-12, with Star Wars prizes going to the top three in each age group.
Spade said that the event will draw to a close with photo opportunities with Garrison Carida members.
“We have announced that the event ends 3 p.m., but I have been told that the 501st stays until everyone who wants a photo with them gets a photo with them.”
501st will also be bringing a generous donation of Star Wars books to the library published by DK books, the same publisher who published the library’s current, generously worn, Star wars books.
“It will be great to replenish our Star wars books. Both the children and young adult books are our most popular and heavily used books,” said Spade.
Due to Garrison Carida being an all-volunteer organization, the full list of the Imperial guests will not be finalized until the week of the event. Spade said that she will be updating the library’s Facebook page and blog (http://honey-brook-library.blogspot.com) once a confirmation of those characters appearing comes through.
“We are so grateful to the 501st and are honored to be a part of such a wonderful event which inspires kids to read. We could not have this event without the help of our great sponsors – Citadel Bank and the Friends of the Honey Brook Library. I’m hoping to have kids remember this event for the rest of their lives. My husband still remembers being a kid and meeting Darth Vader – it is one of his favorite memories.”
In addition to the outdoor festivities, there will be a librarian inside who will be helping sign up new members for library cards.
Spade added that the library is seeking volunteers for the day for the purposes of helping seat people, helping with the costume contest, and serving costume contest judges (judges must be impartial and possess basic Star Wars knowledge to fairly serve in their duties).
For more information about the 501st Legion, please visit www.501stgarrisoncarida.org or www.501st.com. If you would like to learn more about how Garrison Carida can support your organization or event we encourage you to contact Public Relations Officer Tim Wimbush at Timwimbush@comcast.net.
For additional details or to register, stop in at the Honey Brook Library or call 610-273-3303. The library is located at 687 Compass Road (Route 10) in Honey Brook.
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The 501st Legion is a worldwide Star Wars costuming organization comprised of and operated by Star Wars fans. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming group. Star Wars, its characters, costumes, and all associated items are the intellectual property of Lucasfilm. ©2012 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All rights reserved. Used under authorization. 2012 Garrison Carida®