Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

Tonight was another evening with the droids greeting Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween.

In between visits I folded over 150 R2 Builders Club brochures, in preparation for Comikaze that begins tomorrow.

There were plenty of kids and adults in costume, although I'd say the crowd was somewhat smaller than the last few years.

Despite a couple kids taking handfuls of candy, the smaller crowd meant I had some candy left over. I'll give it a good home.

CHOC Halloween Event 2013

Today R2 was invited out to Childrens Hospital Orange County, for their annual Halloween event. Dozens of staffers dress up and hand out candy along the perimeter of the second floor, as the kids staying at the hospital go Trick-or-Treating for goodies.

When I arrived a little before 10:00am, they were just about done setting up.

The staff got creative with their costumes, which included some Minions, as well as ET and Elliot.

Even some pups got into the act.

Anaheim Ducks Dynasty

I'd guess at least 100 kids came through the line, along with family members and staffers helping them make their way. I had to select a couple of pictures that don't show the patients though.

For those patients that weren't able to make it, they broadcast the event to their rooms. Not sure how jealous I'd feel, but as long as someone brought me some loot, I'd be okay.

It was a good visit and a nice warm-up for this evening's Trick-or-Treaters.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Make-A-Wish Gala Fundraiser

Back on October 19, 2013, R2 and I participated in a Make-A-Wish event for young Benton, in which he attained the rank of Jedi Padawan. If you haven't already seen that blog entry, check it out here.

Tonight, Benton found out his journey to become a Jedi Knight was not yet complete.

This was a big surprise for Benton and his family. While Benton thought that the previous event was the end of his training, tonight he was to attempt to complete his training and become a full Jedi Knight, at Make-A-Wish's Gala Fundraiser at the Balboa Bay Resort, in Newport Beach, CA. Along with hundreds of benefactors, top-ranking representatives of Disney and Make-A-Wish were also in attendance.

In addition to the good-guy characters present at Benton's Padawan training, we were to be joined by Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers. The characters gathered into a room where they were able to change into costume, as Rob Estrada and our Make-A-Wish organizer Sarah went over the agenda.

Around 8:15pm we made our way from the changing room to the hallway outside the ballroom where the Gala Fundraiser was taking place.

We were joined by a somewhat puzzled Benton and his brother, who were asked to put on their Jedi outfits. Why would they need those?

Vader and the Stormtroopers interrupted the event and took it over. Who would save the day?

A couple minutes later, R2 and the other good guy characters entered the ballroom with Benton and his brother, to confront Vader and his henchmen.

Individual battles took place between Jedi and Sith over several minutes to the dramatic musical score, which provided a perfect match to the fighing.

Finally, Vader stepped in for a final confrontation. The Jedi were unable to stop Vader by themselves. They called upon Benton, and they gave a combined Force-push that Benton had been practicing to ultimately defeat Vader.

Benton had done it! He had become an official Jedi Knight.

Benton took the stage to be awarded the rank of Jedi, in front of the hundreds of applauding and cheering people in attendance. It was a huge, huge success and a great moment for everyone. (Unfortunately, between operating R2 and having to duck low, I didn't get a clear picture.)

Once we were done in the ballroom, we retreated back to the hallway, where of course we were all stopped for pictures, especially Benton.

They also had a photobooth (although R2 was too short for it!), where Make-A-Wish organizer Sarah and her husband had some fun with Vader and a Stormtrooper.

Meanwhile an auction was going on in the ballroom, and they raised over $50,000!! After the auction, the band started playing, and most of the characters returned to the room for a little dancing. R2 loves to dance.

It was a great night, and I was very happy to be involved in such a worthwhile cause. Congratulations and best of luck Benton!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Corona Library Fundraiser

Tonight I brought R2 out to the library in the city of Corona, CA, for their fundraiser for the library and the Corona Police Officers Association.

The main event was the photo op, but they were also raffling off some nice Star Wars goodies, including a Hasbro Interactive R2-D2.

Hundreds of people lined up from 5:00pm to 8:00pm for pictures with the characters.

R2 is in for a busy two weeks or so, between the last few days and the next few.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Make-A-Wish Event

Today R2 was part of a wish grant for a Make-A-Wish child. For the moment I need to be vague, but I'll have more to share soon. In the meantime, here's a picture by the Jedi Temple.

Update - October 25, 2013: Now that the embargo is over, I can tell you all about this event. It is connected to the blog entry here of October 25, 2013, so be sure to check that one out as well.

First, a video of this event that Make-A-Wish showed at their Gala event of the 25th can be seen here.

This event was staged for a Make-A-Wish child named Benton. Those of us who attended are now allowed to share pictures and post about it, as it is a Make-A-Wish PR event that has been fully cleared with the organization and the family. Make-A-Wish had a videographer there as well, to capture the whole thing. They only asked that we wait until part 2 of the event had taken place, as that was to be a complete surprise to Benton. With that said, on to the summary of the day.

Benton wished to be a Jedi Knight, and Rob Estrada of the Saber Guild gathered a representation of several Star Wars clubs to help pull the event together. Besides me supplying R2, we had the Saber Guild, Rebel Legion and 501st all represented. The location for the event was Oakley headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA, which doubles nicely for a Jedi Temple.

R2 and I arrived nice and early.

The characters headed to the auditorium and changed into costume, where Rob went over the plan for the event.

Once we knew what we were to do, we headed out to the curb for the arrival of Benton and his family, by limousine.

Benton, his older brother, and his parents were escorted inside to the auditorium, where Master Argus (Rob) explained that he heard that Benton wanted to be a Jedi. He explained what it took to be a Jedi, and Benton was taking it all in, and was determined. Benton and his brother were given lightsabers, and they left to go change into their Jedi tunics to begin their training.

The brothers returned, and Master Argus and Benton's mom helped fit them with their Jedi belts, as they prepared for their training.

Master Argus lead the boys through the basic Jedi lightsaber techniques, explaining the purpose of each.

Various Jedi and Sith also took the stage and demonstrated fighting techniques.

After the training had been completed, Benton and his brother had attained the rank of Padawan, and were given their braids, as we applauded. The group posed for pictures.

We headed back outside for a few more pictures. Give a couple kids some lightsabers and there's no stopping them. (Same with adults.)

Afterward we were treated to a pizza lunch.

Two hours after the event had started, I headed on out. On the way, I took a few more pictures of the interior and exterior of the building, which included a military tank(!) along the driveway.

We had achieved Benton's wish of becoming a Jedi, and the event was a huge success, and we were done.

Or were we??? To be continued here...