Preston Garton may be one of the biggest “Star Wars” fans around.
He owns a ton of Star Wars literature, makes his own costumes at home and even had a Star Wars-themed birthday party complete with cakes covered in frosting to match the planet Coruscant, so it was only fitting for the 8-year-old to attend Star Wars Reads Day at Seaside Public Library decked out in a full Commander Cody costume.
He loves all the Star Wars characters and movies with equal affection and can rattle off detailed Star Wars trivia, just like a “typical Star Wars fan,” said his mother, Jennifer Garton, who is a fan herself by association.
The Gartons were only two of about 100 guests who attended the Star Wars Reads Day event at the library, which featured a Jedi Training Camp and costumed re-enactors.
Star Wars Reads Day, in its third year, is an annual initiative by Disney Publishing Worldwide and its publishing partners. On the designated day, book stores, libraries and other institutions across North America host Star Wars Reads Day events to celebrate reading and Star Wars.
According to Julie Handyside, the youth services librarian, the library was looking for a fun new children’s event to do in conjunction with the Halloween season and decided to participate in Star Wars Reads Day for the first time.
“It’s a big draw for people of all ages,” she said, referring to the popular franchise that has been immortalized in movies, television shows and books.
Originally, the library was going to host the Cloud City Garrison of the Star Wars Imperial Costuming Club, but when the group could not show up, Seaside Library Director Esther Moberg and volunteers Brenten Salisbury and Michael Slivkoff stepped up to the plate to act the parts of Princess Leia, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Chewbacca, respectively.
The re-enactors were a big hit with the children; they enjoyed Princess Leia’s friendly demeanor and testing out Obi-Wan Kenobi’s light saber, although a few needed a little prompting to get up the courage to approach the large, furry Chewie.
In addition to munching on “Wookiee Cookies” and “Han’s Rolos,” the children made paper headpieces adorned with Yoda ears and took part in a scavenger hunt that led them throughout the library to find hidden items, such as character figurines and trading cards.
After the hunt, the students returned their scavenger hunt checklists to the check-out counter to earn a reward of stickers, trading cards and posters that were donated by the participating publishers.
The library also presented a range of Star Wars-themed reading material for readers of all ages to check out.
With the success of the first event, which was “beyond expectations,” Handyside said, Star Wars Reads Day could become a tradition at the library.
“I think it could be a fun yearly event,” she said.
The library will be hosting a costume party for teenagers the Tuesday before Halloween. For more information about library events, call (503) 738-6742.