WYOMING — Ewoks, Jedis and storm troopers had a picnic with kids of all ages Oct. 9 and they didn’t need space travel to get together.
The Force was with the crowd of nearly 100, who enjoyed crafts, refreshments, games and even a scavenger hunt at John Jude Bolin Memorial Park at a Star Wars-themed event, sponsored by the Wyoming Free Library.
Storm troopers posed for photos with more than one miniature Princess Leia and Darth Vader. Moms and dads were all too happy to hold onto a light sabre while their small storm troopers – and one tiny Chewbacca – dipped apples into melted caramels to get a “Death Star Apple.”
Kids gathered around Ewok craft table to make felt badges or color and draw pictures on giant pieces of paper for a “Light Sabre” craft. And others just dashed off to the nearby basketball court for some light sabre fights.
The event was the brain-child of library director John Roberts. Then the board members took over to organize the fun. And volunteers from all parts of the library community, from the board and librarians to youngsters willing to help out, made it all happen.
As with most Wyoming Free Library events, supplies came from donations from library workers and patrons, board members and businesses in the community, said the library’s board president, Colleen Garrison, of Wyoming. Ye Olde Gingerbread House, a local day care facility was the major sponsor, she said.
Jillian Rogish, Maddie Johnson and Madelyn a.k.a. “Baby” Keating, all sixth graders at the Wyoming Area Intermediate Center and members of the library’s sewing club, said the sewing club made pillows from Star Wars-themed fabric for the raffle table that was the small fund-raising part of the day. The three girls also the gave up their Sunday afternoon to distribute bags of popcorn and containers of juice to the crowds.
Keating sported the trademark Princess Leia hairdo but couldn’t compete with fellow sewing club member, Kaiya Reisinger, 11, of Kingston, who sewed a complete Princess Leia costume on her own.
Three-year-old Jakob Drevenak came from Hanover Township dressed as Yoda.
“He chose the costume,” said his mom, Kimberly. “He and his big brother (5-year-old Austin) are huge Star Wars fans, thanks to their uncle.”
Kimberly Drevenak said as soon as she read about the picnic on Facebook, she knew where she and the kids would be spending Sunday afternoon.
“Everyone is willing to work with the ideas, everyone brings different skills to the projects,” said board secretary Mary Ellen McNeely, of West Wyoming, who toted a large table into the park so there would be somewhere to set up the gift bags.
One special treat was the visit by the crowd of “real” Jedis, storm troopers and a cuddly, furry Ewok, who mingled with the kids and gladly posed for pictures. They were part of the Rebel Legion, a nationwide group of Star Wars aficionados who spend their free time at events like these. Sunday’s group was part of Ghost Base, the Pennsylvania faction of the Rebel Legion, said Mark Wolsiefer, of Chalfont.
The Dark Side’s storm troopers come from the group’s Carrida Garrison, he said.
And the characters come from all over the Commonwealth. Logray, the Ewok, said he/she “has been known to frequent Mountain Top.” Some of the characters dropped in from Luzerne County locales, and others came from a galaxy as far away as Philadelphia for the afternoon.
“These folks volunteer their free time to help out communities with events like these, help to raise funds and enjoy the whole Star Wars thing with like-minded fans,” he said.
The Rebel Legion marched with many of the revelers to kick off the picnic with a parade from the library.
“That was a real highlight, something people were excited about,” Garrison said. “We scheduled everything to start at noon, but people started arriving at the library at 11:15.”
The event is a kind of run-up to the library’s 90th anniversary celebrations that are being planned for 2017, Garrison said.
“This library is a vital part of the community, even though it’s not out there with some of the bigger area libraries,” she said. “But we’re very proud of what we do – and have done for nearly a century. This tiny library is something of a force of its own.”