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.

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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Horgan’s election call ‘nakedly opportunistic,’ political scientist says

Premier says campaign will ‘fully comply’ with public health directions

Canada West Golf Championships cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

UBC, UBC-O, UFV and UVic athletes will not hit the links this year, Kelowna was set to host

Earl Marriott grad adjusting to NCAA life amid COVID-19 restrictions

Jeremiah Mackie joins older brother Jaxon on Gonzaga University cross-country team

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Most Read