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“Star Wars” mania will help local arts organization with all-day event

The force is strong with a local nonprofit arts organization.

Thanks to a group of Star Wars and volunteer-related organizations and sponsor ThinkGeek, Brooklyn-based Puppetry Arts New York is teaming up with Regal Cinemas to host the “Star Wars Movie Celebration.”

The event, which will help celebrate one of the most anticipated movies of the decade, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” will take place at Brooklyn’s United Artists Court Street Stadium 12 & RPX, and feature activities and special guests during the all-day event on Saturday, December 19, the day after the film’s debut.

For those who want to turn movie-going into a full experience and support the cause, there will be plenty of Jedi (and dark side) activities for families to enjoy. “With the purchase of a movie ticket, on the fifth floor of the theater, we are going to have free activities, such as a Yoda puppet-making session,” said Chief Executive Director of Puppetry Arts Timothy Young. “We are going to have droid coloring and a photo booth rental.”

In addition to the arts and crafts portion for children, there will be a spin wheel raffle and drawings before every single movie between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m., sponsored by ThinkGeek, said Young, who explained, “As fans line up for the movie, they can meet also characters and win prizes.”

The prizes include “Star Wars” memorabilia such as Chewbacca beach towels, plush toys and other merchandise; $5 to $10 will enter you in the raffle, with the money going to the group’s charitable outreach in area schools and at-risk youth programs.

Among the characters that will be in attendance and roaming the theater are a replica R2-D2 made from the R2-D2 Builder’s Group, Darth Vader, and a Stormtrooper and Chewbacca from the 501st Empire City Garrison and the Rebel Legion.

According to Young, fans have been showing their excitement about the event for months. “Everyone is excited about it,” he said. “Regal is holding such a unique and special event. All of the kids are excited. A lot of adults are, too.”

It was a long road to bring the project to fruition. Young said, “When we heard that they were making another ‘Star Wars’ movie, we started working on the event right away. It’s been in the making for well over a year now. There were lots of hoops to go through to make sure you do it right and make sure you follow through with companies you’re working with.”

Along with the “Star Wars” hoopla and high expectations that the film will recapture the magic of the original trilogy that started in 1977, Young is glad the film and event will help a noble cause. “This is an enriching family entertainment with all of these wonderful organizations and sponsors providing us with tools to reach out to community,” he said. “We consider ourselves the little organization that does big things on a small budget. We impact 30,000 people a year. We just need funding to continue and expand. This helps and we are grateful.

“With New York City being the nonprofit capital of world,” Young went on, “funding is so limited in the competitive environment. Our corporate sponsors don’t give us money but the opportunity to earn it ourselves.”

The “Star Wars Celebration” will take place at United Artists Court Street Stadium 12 & RPX, 106 Court Street, on Saturday, December 19 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the fifth floor. For more information on the event, visit www.regmovies.com or www.puppetryarts.org.

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