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The City Journals

‘Star Wars’ Infiltrates the Community Center

Jun 10, 2016 09:02AM ● By Tori La Rue

The Fifield family dressed up like “Star Wars” characters and posed for pictures with children at a South Jordan Youth Council event. – Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Rey and an imperial officer marched into the South Jordan Community Center on May 4, where several children were enjoying the unofficial “Star Wars” holiday, “May the fourth be with you,” by attending a themed mini carnival put on by the South Jordan Youth Council.

Keda Harris, 4, finished making a Yoda hat out of construction paper before having her mother, Natalie Harris, take a picture of her with the “Star Wars” character clan.

“She loves the people who are dressed up,” Natalie said. “I’m so glad we could come because she’s having a blast.”

The city’s youth council puts on a service project each spring, and for the last few years, they’ve done themed children’s carnivals. This year the council chose the intergalactic movie series as a theme because of the popularity of seventh movie “Star Wars” movie that came out last December, Krystal Hansen, adult adviser for the youth council, said.

About 10 children came to the event, which Teague Porter, a council member, said was much less than anticipated. But even with a small turnout, he said they made the best of the night. Teague, 16, manned the booth where children shot down toilet paper rolls that were decorated to look like storm troopers.

A similar game involved rolling a bowling ball into pins that were decorated like storm troopers. Two more stations, both crafts, were part of the carnival. Children were instructed how to make “Star Wars” hats out of construction paper and puppets out of paper sacks.

Tyra Tanner brought her 9- and 6-year-old daughters to the activity because they wanted to come after seeing a flier about the activity at the South Jordan’s Gale Center of History and Culture. Both girls sported “Star Wars” shirts as they participated in the festivities.

“My younger daughter really wanted to come because she loves Darth Vader,” Tanner said. “’He’s not a bad guy he’s awesome.’ That’s her philosophy.”

Raya Tanner, 9, created a Chewbacca puppet at the craft station. She said her favorite part about the carnival was getting to create Chewbacca’s belt on the puppet. She used foam paper to create the character’s black side-strap belt with white stripes.

Jacob Hawkins, mayor of the youth council, said he thinks the children who came had a really good time.

“I love doing the service for these kids because a lot of them may be at those ages where they don’t think they have a lot of friends, but we can be their friends,” Jacob, 17, said.

Cari Fifield, who dressed up as the imperial officer for the event, said the reason she came to the South Jordan event was because she loves to do charitable events to help children. Fifield said her son Kyle Fifield, who dressed up as Kylo Ren, came up with the idea of visiting children’s organizations in Star Wars costumes three years ago, and she said it wasn’t long before he dragged the rest of the family into it.

“It’s just something we do,” Cari said. “I liked sewing and Kyle was into “Star Wars,” so it just all came together.”

The Fifield family lives in Davis County but travels all over for charitable events. Cari’s husband, Denney, often plays Darth Vader and her daughter, Kyra, now plays Rey from the newest movie.

The children who participated in the event and the youth council took pictures with the Fifield family in costume. After they’d visited with the children who were inside the community center, the Fifields, still dressed in their costumes, walked out of the building and started waving at cars driving by on Redwood Road.

Keda interrupted their waving by giving them hugs before she left the carnival.

“We really love this activity,” her mother said. “It was so cute and clever.”

At the end of the night, everything was a success, according to Hansen.

“Well, we’ve learned that we better do better at advertising than just putting our flier up on the city website, but still it went well,” Hansen said. “We would love to have a lot more kids next time because the council was ready for it, but the goal is to make kids happy, and we made at least one kid happy, and I think that makes it all worth it.”