May the Fourth a major holiday for local Star Wars fans

Friday , May 04, 2018 - 5:15 AM

For Star Wars fans, May the Fourth is a major holiday.

The date sounds like the beginning of “May the force be with you,” a popular line in the saga of movies.

Local fans will celebrate by wearing costumes and eating foods that imitate those found in the Star Wars movies.

At least three local businesses plan to celebrate with special events.

“This day is important to me because it's finally mainstream to appreciate and like Star Wars,” said Karli Plant, 34, of North Ogden. “It's exciting that Star Wars is making its way in society, and that liking it is not only accepted but appreciated.”

“My dream someday is to be part of the Alpine Garrison from the 501st Legion,” said Kim Mattingly, who works in Ogden. She was speaking of a Utah charity group that dresses as stormtroopers.

Members of the group will be featured 4-6 p.m Friday at Boondocks Food and Fun in Kaysville, 525 S. Deseret Drive. Visitors will interact with stormtroopers, who also will pose for pictures.

Also that day, Star Wars fans will have a chance to construct Lego Star Wars figures at BAM! Bricks and More Toy Store in Sunset, 2465 N. Main St., Suite 12C.

Funk ‘n Dive, a bar at 2550 Washington Blvd. in Ogden, will hold a lightsaber battle and other events from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday.

“Come help us celebrate with bands that love Star Wars as much as you,” reads an announcement from the business. “Returning from last year’s May the Fourth will be Escher Case, along with Barlow, Bird Watcher and a lightsaber battle courtesy of Jedi Master Dustin Booker. May the Fourth be with you!”

The following local residents shared their enthusiasm for May the Fourth and Star Wars.

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KARLI PLANT

Growing up, Plant’s experience was much different than the Star Wars fan acceptance she finds now.

Plant remembers being teased and labeled as a “geek” because she loved Star Wars so much.

Now, she’s happy to refer to her children every day as Ewoks.

Friday, they’ll be eating themed food like “Jabba Jello, X-Chicken Wings, Rancor Ribs, Tatooine Tator Tots and Yoda Soda.”

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MANDEE GILLESPIE

Ogden resident Mandee Gillespie, 39, has five of the main Star Wars characters tattooed on her back. A student at Venture High School, where Gillespie works in the special education department, painted a pair of converse shoes for her with Star Wars characters and logos.

She loves Star Wars because it gave her an escape when she was young.

“I had a severe food allergy and was sick a lot,” she said. “Star Wars was my escape. ‘Return of the Jedi’ was the first movie I remember seeing in the theater when I was 3 years old.”

Gillespie said she could never truly explain her feelings for Star Wars.

“It's almost untouchable, a sacred place,” she said. “Star Wars is not just a movie franchise. It is a very personal and almost spiritual thing — an untouchable safe place where the hero always saves the day and a rebel is celebrated.”

She said with Star Wars, her "weird" seems normal and she fits in with everyone.

“There are others out there like me, that know exactly what I am talking about. They get the same ... absolute joy and happiness. ... May the Force be with us always.”

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TYLER JENSEN

Tyler Jensen, 23, of Ogden, said he’ll spend the day saying “May the Fourth be with you” to everyone he sees. He also will take out a lightsaber he made especially to debut Friday for an “epic” fight with his brother-in-law.

He says the fight is the next step he’ll take in becoming a Jedi.

“May the Fourth is a day to celebrate a galaxy in which we all want to be,” he said to the Standard-Examiner. “On Star Wars Day, I watch the original trilogy, and the following day, ‘Revenge of the Fifth.’”

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STEVE BERRY

Clearfield resident Steve Berry, 45, has been a Star Wars fan since his father took him to see the first movie in 1977 when he was 5.

“It’s much more accepted now,” he said. “I have a 4-year-old granddaughter who loves to come over and lightsaber battle with Papa.”

With Star Wars becoming widely liked, Berry said he believes those who don’t like the movies now are in the minority. 

“The world has become a much more accepting place for people and their fandoms,” he said.

Berry is assistant director of the Utah chapter of Saber Guild Ruusan Temple, a costuming group that boasts of being “Lucasfilm” preferred.

The group meets every month and attends many events with other Star Wars groups, often raising money for charity, especially Make-A-Wish.

Friday, he’ll be featured at a free, ticketed event at 7 p.m. at the Veridian Event Center in Salt Lake City, part of the Salt Lake County Library System.

There will be singing and dancing, much like a small play, as well as trivia and a costume contest, Berry said.

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KIM MATTINGLY

A site technician at Lincoln Elementary in Ogden, Kim Mattingly works in a well-decorated, Star Wars-themed computer lab.

“Every year, I dress up as a character from Star Wars at my workplace,” Mattingly said. “My students love it.”

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EVAN NELSON

For 31-year-old Evan Nelson of Clearfield, family and Star Wars go hand-in-hand.

“Star Wars was a great way of getting closer with my grandparents,” Nelson said. “They introduced me to Star Wars when I was 6 years old, and it has been a part of me since.”

Now, he has two boys of his own and they can't get enough, he said.

“From the movies to collecting merchandise, Star Wars will always be something we have to share. We dress up to show our excitement for Star Wars,” Nelson said. “It has been a fun and amazing thing to be a part of.”

Both Zander Nelson, 5, and Zachary Nelson, 9, said they love Star Wars and fighting with their lightsabers.

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RYDER WALDRON 

Ryder Waldron, 42, of Syracuse, is a dentist by day and a Star Wars fan by night.

“I’ve been a fan my whole life,” Waldron said, noting that he’s more likely to share his enthusiasm nowadays. “They have made it more cool to be a geek now.”

He’ll celebrate May the Fourth by purchasing a half-dozen tickets for himself for the earliest possible showings of the newest movie, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ which comes out May 25.

“When ‘The Last Jedi’ came out last December, I saw it four times in the first weekend, the first three days,” Waldron said.

He’s also heard a rumor of an announcement of an upcoming Star Wars celebration. He’ll be watching out closely for that.

Waldron is the author of a blog on the site coffeewithkenobi.com.

You may reach reporter JaNae Francis at [email protected] or 801-625-4228. Follow her on Twitter at @JaNaeFrancisSE or on Facebook at Facebook.com/SEJaNaeFrancis.

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