Members of the Star Wars fan-based cosplay group, 501st Legion – Vader’s Fist, were part of a fundraising event at Toy Traders this weekend. (Special to the Langley Advance)

Vader Santa stop in Langley raises big coin for theatre kids

WIN: People can still enter for two tickets to the upcoming premiere of the latest Star Wars movie.

What’s the significance of this number – 1,977?

Well, it’s the amount of money that was raised in a four-hour photo session Saturday with ‘Santa’ at Langley’s Toy Traders.

It was $1,977.70, to be exact.

It just so happens to also be the year that the George Lucas movie, Star Wars, was first released.

And, ahead of the release of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi next week, toy store owner Matthew Purdy – a self-proclaimed Star Wars junkie – infused a little jedi power into this past weekend’s photo session.

Hence, it was no typical Santa Claus on the throne for pictures at the toy store Saturday afternoon.

It was Santa Vader.

And he proved incredibly popular, Purdy said, noting they took more than 700 photos with Vader and some people had to wait in line for 30 to 45 minutes to get a picture.

“I hate that in today’s organized society people should wait in line for non medical emergencies,” Purdy said. “So we kept giving out water bottles and checking on people in line. But because it was very unique event, and a charity fundraiser, people were very supportive. All the feedback was it was worth the wait.”

Members of the Star Wars fan-based cosplay group, 501st Legion – Vader’s Fist, were part of a fundraising event at Toy Traders this weekend.

All proceeds going to a group of professional theatre artists – Some Assembly Arts Society – who collaborate to help youth create original plays that build awareness, education, promote wellness, and encourage dialogue.

“We normally do quite well on our fundraisers, but this has been the best,” he elaborated.

In addition to hosting this past weekend’s fundraising Santa Vader photo session – and having life-sized figures from the movie and massive diaramas of the set in his store, Purdy is celebrating all things Star Wars by running a contests that will put people in seats at a sneak premiere of the movie next week.

“As most all of Langley knows, the entire Toy Traders family is extremely passionate about Star Wars,” said Purdy, who personally saw Rogue “only” five times in the theatre. That’s a low number on his Star Wars viewing counter.

“I’m super excited,” he said. “It carries on the storyline from when I was a kid.”

He’s so excited about next week’s premiere that he’s closing the store early next Thursday (in what he admits is the busiest retail month of the year for his business), and taking his entire staff to see a special showing of the movie.

“This one, I’m seeing twice opening night as I have tickets for the late show, too,” he shared. “I’ll watch it as many times as I can sneak away from the store.”

A few select members of the Langley community will be able to join Purdy and the “Toy Trader family” at the special fan event, Purdy said.

Not only do event goers get a chance to see the new movie before most of the world, Purdy explained. They also get to hang with fellow Star Wars enthusiasts – including dozens who come in costume – ahead of time in a mingle session in the lobby. They are given collectible cards, treated to exclusive content, and availed of special concession offerings.

But Purdy’s favourite part is hanging with some 50-plus members of the 501st Legion – a volunteer group of Star Wars “fanatics” who promote the interest of Star Wars and profess their passion for the movie series by building and wearing replica costumes to raise money for charities.

Their presence in full costume at these and other events simply adds to the ambiance and the atmosphere, Purdy said, noting they were the folks who participated in the Vader Santa photo shoot at his store Saturday.

Purdy ran a ticket contest during the Vader Santa event on the weekend, and this week he’s running another.

This time, he’s offering up two sets of two tickets each for the fan event at Strawberry Hill Cinemas.

There’s no cost to enter. People just have to stop by the store, at 19880 Langley Bypass, and enter at the front counter before the end of business Sunday, Dec. 10 to be in the draw and hopefully win a chance to be part of the exclusive opening event being held in Surrey next Thursday.

Just Posted

Search dogs and handlers on their way to Chilliwack

Missing man’s mom said she is very appreciative of the incredible support Chilliwack has shown

OPINION: The paradox of tolerance in an open society

Why a post-WWII philospher’s recognition that unlimited tolerance of intolerance is dangerous

Heather’s Hope Chest offers Chilliwack women and girls a helping hand

The new ‘free store’ for vulnerable women and girls provides them with household items at no charge

Rainbow crosswalk count will rise to 16 in Chilliwack

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Brother of Chilliwack homicide victim killed in Surrey on Remembrance Day

Andrew Baldwin shot on Nov. 11, three weeks after Keith Baldwin shot in downtown Chilliwack

VIDEO: B.C. to restrict nicotine content, bring in 20% tax on vaping products

Province will also restrict candy and fruit flavoured vaping products to adult-only stores

Seguin lifts surging Stars to 4-2 win over Canucks

Dallas is 6-0-1 in last seven outings

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

UPDATE: Metro Vancouver bus drivers to refuse overtime as transit strike escalates

Overtime ban could disrupt 10-15 per cent of bus service in Metro Vancouver

‘City that protects rapists’: Sexual assault survivor slams Kelowna mayor for defending RCMP

Heather Friesen spent the morning handing out flyers around city hall calling out the mayor

South Surrey man and city settle beef over backyard cow

Asad Syed, who kept a calf on his property last year, met City of Surrey in court Tuesday

Batten down the hatches: Wet and windy weekend on the way for coastal B.C.

Environment Canada issues special weather warning for Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island

BC Liquor Stores to move fully to paper bags by March

Vancouver Island to be the first to convert to paper bags in November

Tolko shuts B.C. divisions for two weeks over holidays

Head office to close from Dec. 23-27; two weeks’ downtime runs Dec. 21-Jan. 6

Most Read