Easter Sunday for many brings views of traditional activities such as dyeing or hunting for brightly colored eggs hidden around a yard, eating chocolate, regaling on a late sunny morning post-brunch and after listening to a pastor’s sermon on the Easter Bunny. This past Easter Sunday at my home away from home I did not attempt to recreate these scenes. Nay, instead I opted for a completely different experience, one that I feel was far more rewarding than what the dear Easter Bunny could have brought to me in his woven basket. What was it then that could so easily surpass chocolate and family? Simple: a Star Wars convention. “Invasion: Dublin” took place here in Ireland over Easter weekend, with the Emerald Garrison, a collection of Star Wars-supergeeks who volunteer their time for charities and other such things, having “invaded” Dublin’s RDS center where they constructed a whole bunch of Star Wars vehicles, sets, and were all set up in homemade costumes.
Inside the large convention hall, where I will apparently be having one of my exams in a few days I have just learned, the entrance was lined with tables selling all sorts of Star Wars memorabilia and then some. New and old posters, toys, books, soundtracks, action figures, plush dolls, collectibles, comics, you name it, it was there for sale. Even a few items specific to the event itself; I myself purchased an Emerald Garrison shirt and an iron-on patch for my hiking bag so I can project my nerdiness even in the inner-depths of mother nature.
Past the seller’s tables however, were the real treats. In the center of the convention hall the Emerald Garrison had constructed a life-size replica of a Y-Wing.
An AT-ST, with triumphant Ewoks.
A skiff with Jawas.
Steve Sansweet, unofficially the world’s biggest Star Wars nerd, giving a talk about his immense collection of Star Wars-related memorabilia. He was surprisingly down to earth and fun.
A Stormtrooper signing a little kid’s autograph book.
And dozens of other characters walking around: two Darth Maul’s, Darth Vader, the Emperor, Stormtroopers of various sorts and sizes (some a little short for a Stormtrooper, others a little plump), Chewbacca, Rebel fighters and pilots, Twi’leks, a Sith that I could imagine to be nightmare inducing to some kids, and all kinds of fun and weird aliens.
The most wonderful thing about the whole experience, besides the obvious fact that I got to nerd out in a most extreme fashion, was seeing parents bring their little ones to this and the joy on everyone’s faces during it. You’d see little kids running around with lightsabers or in Darth Vader costumes, and the parents would have Star Wars shirts on all the same. You could tell the parents were having just as much fun as the kids were, which is a pretty special thing nowadays. The idea that something could bridge so many generations; people who could remember seeing Star Wars when it first came out or grew up with it, can share in reveling in the magic of this universe with their kids, who are just as excited. It felt like something you would see in those old 1940s and 1950s films, where the entire family is out together and having an enjoyable time, except this is real. Idealistic, perhaps, but beautiful all the same. What’s more is that the workers at this weren’t teenagers or 20-somethings being paid minimum-wage to be there all weekend, but extremely enthusiastic Star Wars nerds who love being able to share their passion for the enjoyment for others. That’s what makes the sight of a Clone Trooper Commando, covered in blood and nearly seven-feet tall, leaning down to shake a five-year old’s hand so sweet, or their willingness to play along when kids chase them down with lightsabers and hack them to pieces.
So while it was a galaxy far, far away from a traditional Easter, it’s silly to pin down an exact way one must enjoy an arbitrary date on the calendar. The Emerald Garrison put on an amazing show for this green isle, and I saw a lot of happy faces come and go. Including my own face once I got to hang out with an old buddy of mine.