‘The Force’ strong in Naperville during annual Star Wars Day – Chicago Tribune
Star Wars fans young and old were transported to a galaxy far, far away Saturday at Naperville 95th Street .
Star Wars Day, now in its third year, drew hundreds of fans, many in costume. The event featured crafts, “Star Wars” movie showings, games and even Jedi training. Members of the 501st Midwest Garrison appeared in costume, and some suburban fans showed off the droid replicas they built of popular Star Wars characters R2D2 and BB-8.
“It’s awesome,” said Naperville resident Mike Monterubio, who brought his children, Melinda, 6, and Matthew, 7. “Star Wars is a big part of our lives … especially mine.”
While Saturday was a celebration of all things Star Wars, the library carries a wide variety of Star Wars materials year round.
“They’re always popular,” said Christy Palangattil, an adult services librarian who helped plan Saturday’s gathering.
The library first hosted a Star Wars Day in 2015, and each year since the event has grown, Palangattil said. The first year drew 200 to 300 people; this year, the crowd was expected to top 1,500.
“It’s multi-generational,” she said referring to the popular series’ draw. “You get a very diverse crowd. That’s something I enjoy seeing.”
Fans were treated to such activities as making silk screened T-shirts, creating Star Wars characters out of Perler beads, playing Star Wars video games and joining a scavenger hunt for all things Star Wars in the library.
“It’s pretty cool the library offers all this,” said Kelli Leffler, of Naperville, who brought her three children.
Eight-year-old Aditi Goyal, of Naperville, said she particularly enjoyed the Robo Olympics, where children got to try their hand at robotics. Saturday was her first Star Wars Day at a library, she said.
The event also gave Star Wars fans a chance to show off some of their handiwork. Members of the 501st Midwest Garrison, a group dedicated to Star Wars characters and costuming, donned costumes and masks and the R2 Builders Club wowed fans with their R2-D2 and BB-8 droids.
“You do it for the magic and the fun,” said Jessica Stack, a Darien woman who built a BB-8 droid.
Although previous Star Wars days have been held in December and October, Palangattil said she expects the event will remain on the last Saturday of September in future years.
Alicia Fabbre is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.