On Saturday, I accompanied Lester to another 501st event, this time involving a surprise visit to the Boy Scouts of America Pack 825 in Eastlake. Their annual Blue & Gold Banquet was Star Wars-themed and involved a cake decorating contest with the Cub Scouts. Little did they know that the adults running around looking at the cakes were the very same people up on stage in costume.We actually got there a lot earlier than everyone else. Meetup time was 5:15 PM and we got there at 5:00 PM only to see one other car. Everyone else started trickling in within the next half hour or so, so all was well. We saw some familiar faces from the Big Bay Balloon Parade and met even more people from the Southern California Garrison.
Everyone hung out in the cafeteria kitchen while the hosts were still setting up. It was the only other place for everyone to store their costumes and suit up.
Plus, how often will you ever get to see Stormtrooper armor in a kitchen?
Aside from the banquet being their annual celebratory banquet, it was also Star Wars-themed. The Cub Scouts held a cake decorating contest that also involved Star Wars. The kids were really creative with their cakes, too! This was one of my favorites: nice use of Pocky and a Clone Walker.
This cake won first place. It’s supposed to depict Boba Fett in a Sarlacc pit, but it looked more like a Boba Fett octopus! Awesome cake, nonetheless.
The prizes for the kids included action figures and what not, but the top two prizes were very noteworthy:
A Star Wars Creepy Crawlers mold maker! I didn’t even know they still made these! I loved these things.
1st place: a handcrafted Clone Trooper figurine. HANDCRAFTED. This was assembled by our very own Clone Trooper, Gene. It’s amazing!
After we took a look at the cakes, everyone went back into the kitchen to suit up and surprise the kids. The kids were being distracted with food and Star Wars trivia while everyone was getting ready.
Lester and Mike, the battle-damaged Trooper.
Yay, Shadow Stormtroopers!
Messing around before going on-stage.
The kids’ reactions to everyone appearing on stage were priceless! They were so ecstatic about actual Star Wars characters appearing right before their eyes. I was also surprised as to how knowledgeable they were about certain Star Wars trivia, considering what’s been the hype as of late is the Clone Wars.
The kids that won the cake decorating contest. I love how the Snowtrooper (Barry) and General Veers (Ben) are looming over.
After seeing the 501st on stage and presenting the prizes to the kids, the rest of the time spent was a meet-and-greet frenzy. Everyone was running around getting autographs from their favorite characters and taking pictures with them. It was great seeing everyone’s faces light up at the sight of them.
Vader uses children as desks.
Hi-5s for all!
Even more serious business.
Waiting in line for Boba Fett’s autograph
The expression on his face is hilarious!
Group photo of some of the people that went backstage. Some of the others ventured off to the kitchen so it’s not representative of everyone.
One of the best things about this event was not just having the 501st there, but informing the crowd of why they do the things they do. They’re not just a bunch of people that dress up for fun: they give back to the community as well. I really do hope people realize this.
For more photos of not just costumes but delicious cake, you can head over to my Flickr account.
Until the next event!