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‘Star Wars’-themed kids activities inspire ‘Rogue One’ interest

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published: December 11, 2016, 7:57pm
4 Photos
Kim Harless and her son, Aidyn Culp, 7, of Vancouver play with foam lightsabers Sunday afternoon during a Jedi training at the Vancouver Community Library. Children and their parents could participate in several &quot;Star Wars&quot;-themed activities during the Jedi-inspired event.
Kim Harless and her son, Aidyn Culp, 7, of Vancouver play with foam lightsabers Sunday afternoon during a Jedi training at the Vancouver Community Library. Children and their parents could participate in several "Star Wars"-themed activities during the Jedi-inspired event. (Photos by Joseph Glode/ for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Twelve-year-old Anthony Green dashed around a play area at the Vancouver Community Library, maneuvering a foam lightsaber through the air and demonstrating his sound-effect skills:

Tzoo, tzoo. … Ksh, ksh.

He and other “Star Wars” fans were in a Jedi training of sorts. It was one of several events at the library during the weekend to celebrate the film series and get ready for “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which hits theaters later this week.

The room was filled Sunday with several games inspired by the movies and designed to improve participants’ Force abilities, library assistant Rachel Ernst said. There was Death Star skee ball, stormtrooper bowling, a chance to paint a Death Star with watercolor, and the lightsaber activity, in which children tried to keep a balloon in the air by hitting it with a foam version of the Jedi weapon.

“We’re just preparing everyone for the ‘Rogue One’ excitement,” Ernst said. Library visitors also could enter a drawing to receive a pack of four tickets to the movie.

Anthony, amid moments of reciting “Star Wars” trivia, said he’s a big fan of the film series. Because the story takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, who knows, maybe it actually happened, the boy said.

He said he appreciates “Star Wars” because of “the possibilities that this could all be real, and just how cool it is.”

The symbolism in the films also struck him — how the Force seems to represent God, and the fight between the Jedi and Sith represents the fight between good and evil. A Jedi is tasked with “bringing peace to the world,” he said.

At one point during the Jedi event, a playful lightsaber battle intensified. Foam flew as several boys sparred and the “Star Wars” opening-theme song played in the background.

“Your nose is your weakness!” one boy exclaimed while hitting another with his lightsaber.

“You can’t get me now!” another boy shouted.

Ernst reminded the boys: “The Jedi is all about respecting each other.”

The “Star Wars” events at the library were well attended, Ernst told The Columbian. Sunday morning, about 60 people turned up for a “Star Wars” story time in the same room. At one point, a person dressed as a Mandalorian bounty hunter read one of the stories, she said.

“All of these kids knew all the characters, all the names,” Ernst said, marveling at the popularity of the film series over the decades. “It’s definitely a multigenerational empire. … You can see it passed down.”

Katie Anderson of Battle Ground was at the library with her sons for the first time. The family recently moved to Clark County from Colorado.

She said she grew up with an older brother who watched the movies, while her 8-year-old, Haven, “really likes ‘The Clone Wars’ cartoons,” and her 3-year-old, Griffin, “thinks that Darth Vader is pretty cool.”

“It’s good to have some common ground across so many generations and interest levels,” Anderson said. “It’s very inclusive.”

Adam Robbins was at the Jedi event Sunday afternoon with his 5-year-old son, Caleb, who wore paper Yoda ears on his head. He made the ears earlier in the day, along with a Chewbacca bookmark and a BB-8 droid created from a paper plate.

The family makes frequent trips to the downtown Vancouver library, but the “Star Wars” theme was an added treat, Robbins said.

“He’s a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan,” he said of his son. “It’s a good combination — the library and ‘Star Wars.’ “

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Columbian Assistant Metro Editor