Joliet Library’s annual Star Wars event Saturday
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org May 29, 2013 9:26PM
Updated: July 2, 2013 7:11AM
Downtown Joliet turns into a Star Wars festival Saturday.
The Joliet Public Library holds its fourth annual Star Wars Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., shutting down a portion of Clinton Street for costumed characters, kids games and more — like music from IL Troubadore Klingon Music Project.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve heard them sing ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ in German,” said Roger Burns, youth services librarian.
More than that.
Route 66 Diner, Gji’s Sweet Shoppe and other vendors are promising Star Wars-themed menus and treats. The Joliet Area Historical Museum will host “Lightsaber Training” and “Death Star Bowling.” Star Wars re-enactors will be on the scene and a “Star Wars Academy” will offer Stormtrooper training and other lessons.
This event attracted 3,000 people last year.
The celebration gets bigger with the arrival for the first time of a Star Wars actor. Orli Shoshan, who played Togruta Jedi Master Shaak Ti in the 1999-2005 Star Wars prequel trilogy, will be in the library taking photos with guests for free.
Even though much of the fun, games and music will be on the street, Burns said the event really is about bringing kids and their families closer to the library, at 150 N. Ottawa St.
“It started initially as a smaller children’s program,” said Burns, one of the coordinators for Star Wars Day. “It’s child-centric and family-centric to bring kids into the library.”
The Joliet Star Wars Days stands out among sci-fi events, most of which are adult oriented, Burns said. While there is plenty of activity for sci-fi fans, parents and kids can share their Star Wars enthusiasm through games, crafts and other activities at the Joliet event.
But, really, Burns said, the underlying purpose is to build enthusiasm for the library. Last year, the library put out its entire collection of 500 books with a Star Wars theme for the festival. Half of them were borrowed by visitors to Star Wars Day.
“This is one way of bringing people in and familiarizing them with our collection and our staff,” Burns said.
The people becoming familiar with Joliet’s downtown library are coming from a larger area every year. The first year, which drew 600 people, was mostly a Joliet crowd. But as Star Wars Day grows in attendance, more people are coming from surrounding towns and Chicago suburbs.