Library celebrates May the Fourth

“Star Wars” fans of all shapes and sizes turned out for May the Fourth at the library. - Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review
“Star Wars” fans of all shapes and sizes turned out for May the Fourth at the library.
— image credit: Richard D. Oxley / Bainbridge Island Review

One by one, young islanders felt compelled to journey across Bainbridge Saturday to a grand hall of knowledge. The force was strong with these padawans of cult fandom and they proved their loyalty well.

While the date of May 4 is just another day to many, for “Star Wars” faithful it is an underground holiday to celebrate all things stemming from a galaxy far, far away.

But this past weekend, that galaxy was as close as the Bainbridge Public Library.

“May the Fourth is a national event that ‘Star Wars’ fans take part in,” said librarian Audrey Barbakoff.

Barbakoff helped organize the library’s “Star Wars” gathering, and the force — actually, the promise of cookies and wookiees — drew a crowd of sci-fi fans, many in costumes from the mega-hit movie series. There were princesses galore, plus bounty hunters and a droid here and there.

“May the Fourth,” is a play on the popular Star Wars mantra “May the force be with you.” Some fans may charge through a marathon of Star Wars films. Others might break out their classic and collectable “Star Wars” arcade games — all the while sharing stories of where they were when they first saw the iconic films and debating modern alterations to the series (“Han shot first”).

At the Bainbridge Public Library, May the Fourth was an afternoon filled with costumes, cookies, wookiees and much more.

“My favorite thing was that it engaged people of all ages,” Barbakoff said. “We had kids making cookies, we had teenagers running stations and we had adults talking with costumers and exchanging ‘Star Wars’ trivia.”

More than 140 people passed through the library’s event on Saturday. Young fans made their own “Star Wars”-themed buttons, learned about costume making, or even made their own intergalactic-themed cookies.

“We went through 10 dozen cookies in about one-and-a-half hours,” Barbakoff said.

Barbakoff noted that while people perused the “Star Wars” offerings, the library was able to also present its science-based materials and books, many about the wonders of outer space and space travel.

Paper masks were available to young islanders who could choose from their favorite characters. R2-D2, the handy astromech droid who fought at Luke Skywalker’s side, was the most popular mask.

Princess Leia masks were a close second.

Despite being programed with over 6 million forms of communication and being the golden counterpart to R2-D2, nobody touched the C-3PO masks.

Fans were provided a special treat with a visit from members of the Tarentatek Clan. The clan is a local branch of the international Mandalorian Merc Costume Club, a fan-based organization dedicated to creating “Star Wars” costumes. Club members often use their talents to support charities and worthy causes.

Tarentatek Clan members Steve Porter and Victoria Brown were on hand to take photos and join in the galactic fun. Porter sported his Chewbacca costume while Brown showed off her own female version of bounty hunter Boba Fett. Both spent much of the day posing for photographs.

The success of May the Fourth at the library is providing the inspiration not only to continue celebrating the “Star Wars” event, but also to branch out into other fields of cult fandom.

“We are going to stick to doing it,” Barbakoff said. “After a success like this we will keep it on the agenda for next year.”

“We are gonna have similar events coming up. We are thinking about doing a Dr. Who event,” she added.

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