JOLIET – It’s time to grab a lightsaber and head to Star Wars Day in downtown Joliet.
The Joliet Public Library’s sixth annual Star Wars Day is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Expect to share the streets with thousands of other Star Wars fans. Just how many is a question Roger Burns is asking.
“Last year, we had 7,000. The year before we had 4,500. So, I don’t know what to expect this year,” said Burns, youth librarian and one of the event’s organizers.
Activities start with an opening ceremony and parade of Star Wars characters in costume at 11 a.m. Throughout the day, there will be exhibits, authors, bands, booths, re-enactors and more as part of the Star Wars theme.
The event is centered at the Joliet Public Library, 150 N. Ottawa St., and spreads into the surrounding streets. Activities also are staged at the Joliet Area Historical Museum.
All this started as an event aimed at bringing more people to the library, which remains the core purpose, Burns said.
“We’re bringing kids in under the guise of Star Wars and familiarizing them with the library and the staff,” Burns said.
The response over six years has been “phenomenal,” he said. “It helps redefine the library as a community center, in addition to a book and information center.”
It’s a lot of fun, too.
The event typically brings out Star Wars enthusiasts and families. Kids games are held with prizes.
Real science will also be on display at times. A scientist from Fermilab Labs will do a cryogenics demonstration at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, which also will stage lightsaber demonstrations.
Lots of interest was generated this year with the scheduling of John Jackson Miller, whose Star Wars books have made the New York Times bestseller list, Burns said.
“This event caters to a geographical community but also a wider community of shared interest, which is Star Wars and real science,” Burns said.
Some Star Wars Day activities
11 a.m.: Opening ceremony
Noon: Mr. Freeze Cryogenic Demo
Noon and 2:15 p.m.: il Troubadore Klingon Music Project
1 and 3 p.m.: Lightsaber demonstrations
1:30 p.m.: Costume contest
3:45 p.m.: Closing ceremony
For a complete list, go to www.jolietlibrary.org.