Completely by accident I discovered that the BJs in TenMilesAway was having a visit by a group of Imperial Stormtroopers. It was publicized (as best I could tell) only within BJs if you happened to show up at the store the five days before it and grabbed a flyer.
Given the clandestine nature of the invading Stormtroopers, I was able to keep it a secret from the Kiddos, whom I told only that we were driving ten miles to BJs on a Saturday.
Kiddo#3 didn’t want to go. I suggested he might want to wear his CloneTrooper costume to BJs. “Why?” he said. Because, I told him, it will be fun. He decided to wear his mask. I tucked the rest of his costume into a bag. Along with a few Star Wars books.
“Time to go,” I said.
Whhhhyyyyyy??? they whined.
Being a human of genius-level brilliance, I told them we were going to get apple cider.
My thirteen year old started griping. “If all we want is apple cider, we could get it at Costlies.”
I showed him the flyer. He shut up.
In the parking lot at BJs, a 20-minute drive later, Kiddo#2 groused, “Why’d we have to come all the way to BJs?”
Kiddo#1 said, “We’re buying apple cider!”
Kiddo#2 said, “If all we wanted was apple cider, we could have got it at Costlies.”
Just inside the front door, they saw Darth Vader and a Snow Trooper. They all got very quiet. Would they like to go and talk to them? Yes, yes indeed, they would. Would Kiddo#3 like to wear the rest of his costume? Yes, he would.
Kiddo#4 would not let go of me. Kiddo#2 was still having a snit. So they refused the photo op.
Kiddos 1 and 3, however, had a lot of fun.
There were also a rebel fighter pilot and an imperial officer on hand to sign books.
When I pulled out the copy of Star Wars, the rebel fighter pilot refused to sign it. “That’s a first edition!”
I said, “I got it for a buck at the library book sale!”
It turned out the entire trilogy were first editions, still with their $1 tags from the library. They refused to damage these treasures. Instead they signed the first edition Empire Strikes Back graphic novel my Patient Husband had let Kiddo#3 look at. Vader helpfully indicated who he was on the cover.
Then the folks organizing the event had a great idea: have Kiddo#3 saluting Darth Vader. The result was that one of the employees came to me and said, “Seeing that made it worth having to work on my day off.” (She said it twice, so I believe she meant it.)
After the photo I said, “Thank you, Lord Vader.”
We hung around through two rounds of raffles, and the Kiddos won a Star Wars Lego TIE Defender. They each got a Lego X-wing fighter kit, and they got a booklet with some Star Wars activities.
On the way out, Kiddo#2 said, “We forgot to get apple cider.”
I said, “If all we wanted was apple cider, we could have gone to Costlies.”
And she laughed. Overall, a great trip.