Interactive 'Star Wars' events for kids on Long Island

A handful of members from New York's 501st A handful of members from New York's 501st Legion's Empire City Garrison of Long Island, and the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley areas will be attending an event at the Book Revue in Huntington on June 1, 2014, in Darth Vadar and Stormtrooper costumes. Photo Credit: Vicki Lares

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Young Star Wars fanatics and Lego lovers will converge Sunday, June 1, at the Book Revue in Huntington, when Jason Fry, co-author of the newly updated and expanded "LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary" (DK, $21.99), brings an interactive kids' event to the bookstore.

Fry will speak, answer questions, run a "Star Wars" trivia contest and sign copies of the book. Live "Star Wars" characters, including Darth Vader and Imperial stormtroopers, will greet children and pose for photographs with them. Lego building stations will allow kids to construct their own creations.

So, is Fry's book about "Star Wars," or is it about Lego? "It is kind of this encyclopedia of two different things at once," Fry says. "One is 'Star Wars' lore. The other is Lego lore. Kids love to know stuff that other kids and their parents may not."

TRIVIA PURSUIT

The 144-page, hardcover volume gives detailed and annotated color photos of Lego renditions of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Yoda and C-3PO, weapons, spacecraft and more. Cross-section photos show the inner workings of larger sets, such as the Death Star and the Millennium Falcon.

"The book describes hundreds of minifigures and sets put out by Lego since 1999. Lots of these sets have secret features or cool little Easter eggs," Fry says, alluding to hidden features Lego included that fans uncover when playing with the items. "We show some of them, but not all."

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An updated Beyond the Bricks chapter takes a behind-the-scenes look at how Lego sets are made and features fan creations. Each book also comes with an exclusive Lego "Star Wars" minifigure.

The book is a revised, expanded and updated version of the original "LEGO Star Wars" visual dictionary published in 2009, which has sold more than 2 million copies. The new book has 48 additional pages and now shows all of the new sets from Lego Star Wars.

NO COMPETITION

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Fry has been on a tour of cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle. He says he's not always the main draw for the events: "I've learned as an adult: Don't compete with the stormtroopers."

A handful of characters from New York's 501st Legion's Empire City Garrison of Long Island, and the Mid and Lower Hudson Valley areas will be at the event in costume, says Chris Feehan of Mineola. He's the Long Island event coordinator of the 501st Legion's Empire City Garrison, and he's coming as a stormtrooper.

Members of the group purchase and assemble movie-accurate costumes of the bad guys, and they often do charity events, such as visiting sick children at Long Island hospitals. Kids "go crazy" when they see the characters, Feehan says.

Fry says he loves seeing them as well. He's been a "Star Wars" fan "from the very beginning" -- when the first movie came out in 1977 and he was 8 years old. He's seen all six movies and the TV show.

What's the allure? "It's good and evil. It's family secrets and saga, but it's topped off with a lot of space battles and swinging lightsabers and stuff that is really fun."

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MORE EVENTS

-- In celebration of "Star Wars" month, people with costumes enter free from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at the Long Island Science Center, 11 W. Main St., Riverhead. 631-208-8000; lisciencecenter.org

-- Kids can learn basic lightsaber choreography and techniques on June 15 during Eternal Con's Kids Day at the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Charles Lindbergh Boulevard, Garden City. The day will feature special events for children, including the "Youngling Training" by New York Jedi instructors in a supervised training session. Children who participate will receive free lightsabers (limited quantities available). $20 for adults, $6 for kids ages 2 to 12, younger than 2 free. For more information, call 516-900-4748 or visit eternalcon.com

INFO "LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary" event

WHEN | WHERE Noon Sunday, June 1, at the Book Revue, 313 New York Ave., Huntington

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INFO Free, but copies of the book to be signed have to be purchased at the store; 631-271-1442, bookrevue.com

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