It was a dark and stormy night…


No, wait, that is all wrong. It was a gorgeous sunny, summer day when over 40 costumed members of the Dune Sea Garrison, Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercs showed up en force for the 4th of July Parade in Flagstaff, Arizona.


You may think “What does Star Wars have to do with our country’s celebration of Independence?” Well, you may be alone in that query. In what has quickly grown into the ‘must attend’ even for the costumers is even more highly anticipated by the spectators lining the streets of downtown Flagstaff.


The excitement builds as the costumers, many decorated with symbols of American patriotism, wait for their time to shine. This year, the group was listed as #77 in the parade line up, which was a cause for celebration amongst the participators, since it felt like a good sign. After all, Star Wars debuted in 1977.
With Imperial music heralding their entrance, a cheer went up from the crowd and the troopers began their march. Kids and adults alike lined up to high five their favorite characters. There is nothing quite like those moments when a little one approaches, with a smile stretching across their face, as they get to hug and take a photo with someone who has stepped right out of a movie to come and see them. Those are the moments that matter. That is what Star Wars has to do with the 4th of July. It is an incredible feeling being able to see the joy of a happy child and the wistful look of an adult as they are taken back to simpler times. That and a healthy dose of the camaraderie that comes from joining forces, Light and Dark sides both, to bring all that to a sleepy, quiet town in Northern Arizona.