By Cydney McFarland/Idaho State Journal
POCATELLO â€” Back by popular demand, the “Star Wars” Timberline Garrison made appeared at Family Fun Day at the Portneuf Wellness Complex on Saturday. Members of the “Star Wars” costuming group posed for photos to raise money for the Idaho Foodbank.
The Timberline Garrison is the local branch of the 501st Legion, an international “Star Wars” costuming group nearly 7,000 people strong.
Representing Idaho and Montana, the Garrison boasts roughly 36 members. Idaho makes up the majority of that with 26 members. However Southeast Idaho is home to only 12 members.
With no members in Pocatello, a small group drove to take part in Family Fun Day. This year featured three members dressed as Princess Leia, a Storm Trooper and an Imperial Officer.
â€śDarth Vader is busy,â€ť said Garrison member Erin Atwood. â€śHe couldnâ€™t get off work.â€ť
According to Atwood, all of the costumes are made by hand to ensure the best quality costume.
â€śMost of us find that off-the-rack costumes arenâ€™t as wearable,â€ť said Atwood. â€śWe try to be as screen accurate and professional quality as possible. We want to look like we walked right out of the movie.â€ť
Atwood said the costumes can take anywhere from a few days to months to complete â€” depending on the complexity of the costume and the time a person is able to put into it.
â€śWe are real people with real jobs,â€ť said Atwood. â€śUnfortunately not flying around the galaxy.â€ť
Due to the detail and time it takes to make these costumes, they often become community projects, according to Atwood.
â€śIf I can sew and you canâ€™t, Iâ€™ll help you,â€ť said Atwood. â€śSome people can work with plastic so theyâ€™ll help with costumes like Storm Troopers. Everyone really helps out and thatâ€™s the great thing about this group.â€ť
Atwood said most people only have one costume, generally their favorite Star Wars character. Others, like Atwood, will have multiple costumes.
â€śI have five now,â€ť said Atwood, who was dressed as an Imperial Officer on Saturday. However her main costume is a TIE Fighter pilot.
The Timberline Garrison does specialize in Imperial Costumes, the bad guys in the “Star Wars” movies. Members use their costumes, and love of the films, for good. They attend local events, like Family Fun Day, and pose for pictures to generate donations for local charities.
On Saturday that was the Idaho Foodbank. But they often make hospital appearances through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and have helped charities like the Salvation Army, Museum of Idaho and Idaho Falls Domestic Violence Shelter, among others.
The group has been coming to Family Fun Day for over four years and are popular with young and old enthusiasts alike.
Local “Star Wars” fans, the Blakeslee family, came to Family Fun Day in costume to take photos with the Timberline Garrison.
“We have lots of ‘Star Wars’ costumes,” said Charity Blakeslee, the mother of four who makes all the costumes. “We just keep adding to the collection in different sizes.”
The Blakeslee kids â€” Jace, Paige, Tristan and Devin â€” range in age from 2 to 15 and they all dressed as the Jedi superheroes from “Star Wars.”
Getting their photos with the Timberline Garrison has become a tradition for the family, with many of them being featured in the Journal in previous years.
â€śWe try to come every year possible,â€ť said Garrison member Atwood. â€śWe just love to be here helping the community and helping the Foodbank.â€ť