Forest Grove library celebrates 'Star Wars' with patrons
If there's a bright center to the universe, for hundreds of 'Star Wars' fans in western Washington County Saturday, Jan. 27, it was the Forest Grove City Library.
For the third year, the library hosted a 'Star Wars'-themed event that brought in younglings wearing Jedi robes and stormtrooper masks by the freighter-load. Patrons had the opportunity to meet and have their picture taken with clone troopers, starfighter pilots and other icons from a galaxy far, far away, as well as enjoy games and refreshments inspired by the movies.
Librarians decided to start the annual "Be a Library Jedi" event after seeing how well-loved the library's collection of 'Star Wars' books and movies is, said Ariel Yang, Forest Grove's library services supervisor.
"We had no idea this would be so popular," Yang said.
For patrons who came out to the library for the afternoon event, perhaps the prime attraction was the presence of in-character volunteers from Star Wars Oregon, an umbrella group of 'Star Wars' fans who have made their own professional-looking costumes.
"We're going for as screen-accurate as possible," said Barclay Albright, a Tigard resident who dressed as an Imperial officer for the occasion — one of two 'Star Wars' costumes he has made himself.Albright loves the space-opera saga, of course, and he enjoys the challenge of building photorealistic costumes. He's been costuming for about 17 years, he said.
"Most people spend a good number of hours … looking at reference pictures while they're making the costumes," Albright said, adding, "You can't just go buy it off the shelf."
Yang and library director Colleen Winters said Star Wars Oregon does not charge the library for its time.
"Most of what we do is 100 percent charity-based. … We go to an event where there's a donation involved, or (we go to) public events like this," explained Luke Killam, executive officer of the group. Killam, who made the trek out from Troutdale without so much as a backup hyperdrive to speed his journey, wore the uniform of a shoretrooper from 2016 standalone film "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" for the library event.
Killam said Star Wars Oregon is involved in more than 200 events every year and has about 150 members in the area.For children like 3-year-old Henry Grimes of Banks, "Be a Library Jedi" was tremendous fun.
"Any chance he can wear his costume, he's happy," said Henry's mother, Ellen Grimes, as the little Darth Vader excitedly attacked a cloud of airborne bubbles with his toy lightsaber. (Other activities included corn-hole variant "Bomb the Death Star" and "Pin the Bun on Princess Leia.")
Yang said the library tries to offer a wide variety of family-friendly activities at the event.
"All sorts of things for all age levels," she said. "We want to make sure that when families come in, the littlest one and the oldest one all have something fun to do."
By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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