Stormtroopers from a galaxy far, far away have been entertaining kids of all ages at a two-day Star Wars event at The National Space Centre this weekend.
Thousands of fans zeroed in on Leicester on Saturday and more were expected today to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film Star Wars the Return of the Jedi.
More than 100 characters including Darth Vader, a whole legion of Stormtroopers, Bounty Hunters, Jedi and Droids in authentic costumes invaded the centre swirling lightsabers and brandishing blaster weapons.
Hundreds of the visitors, which included people from Poland, London and Wales, also dressed up as their favourite characters.
The centre also saw a reunion of the original cast of Ewoks from Return of the Jedi.
There was a full exhibition of props, costumes, prosthetics and weapons, and visitors tried on helmets and wielded lightsabers.
Youngsters and adults alike had the chance of having the pictures taken with Star Wars characters such as Chewbacca and Mara Jade.
Children took part in a droid hunt, joined the Stormtroopers for some blaster practice, became Padawans for Jedi training and had the chance to win prizes in the Star Wars costume competition.
Oliver Lincoln, 7, from the Vale of Belvoir, dressed up as a Sith, to get in the spirit of things. Commenting on why he chose such a villain, Oliver said: “He is one cool bad guy.”
Parents Mike and Lisa, who are staunch Star Wars fans, said: “It’s the first time we have been and it’s great. We were visiting the space centre last weekend and found out about the event and had to return.”
Harrison Turner,10, from Groby who was named after Hans Solo actor Harrison Ford, posed for pictures with the Jedi.
He said: “My favourite character is Anakin Skywalker and it is great to have my picture taken with the characters.”
Mum Mairead said: “Together with my husband Mark we are all great fans of the films and have got them all on DVD.”
Another adult fan Scott Walker from Groby Road dressed up as a Sith to bring along his son Konnor for a 12th birthday treat.
He said: “I just thought it would be a bit of fun to dress up for the day. But in truth my favourite character is Boba Fett the bounty hunter.”
Fortunately his partner Sharon Nowell is a Star Wars fan. But she said: “His costume is great but it is difficult to get the horns to stick on.”
The weekend was organised by the Star Wars constuming group the UK Garrison 501 which raises money for charity from the events.
Apart from meeting characters, fans had the chance to see imperial armour being built as the Stormtroopers took on the task of building a Biker Scout over the weekend.
One of the Stormtroopers, Biker Scout TB 5996 from the giant blue planet Endor, aka Dave Harris, from Coalville, took time out from terrorising people with his blaster for an ice cream.
He said: “We get a tremendous buzz doing this and it is all for charity.”
Event co-ordinator Steve Buckley said: “We have been organising this event at the centre each year since 2005. We limit the event to 2,500 tickets on each day so we anticipate 5,000 will have visited us over the weekend.”
Money raised will support groups such as Help for Heroes and Make a Wish Foundation.
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