Tuesday, 23 August 2011

99th Garrison goes to the American Classic Car Show - Northampton - 20 and 21st August 2011

The 99th Garrison and MK Garrison was asked to attend the American Classic Car show at the Billing Aquadome, Northamtpon on Saturday and Sunday 20th and 21st August 2011 to help with fund raising for Help For Heroes.  

We weren't able to do the Saturday but went along on the Sunday with Craig, leaving at about 08:45 and getting there at about 11:00am.  Ian and Marie had traveled down from the North East with Mark and Matthew and made a weekend of it renting a caravan on site for their stay.  On arrival at the site [Billing Aquadone is huge by the way!] we eventually found their caravan and located Paul who had traveled from our neck of the woods in Derbyshire. We got ready in the caravan with Jim and Ian crewing for us.  We then made our way through the park to the main arena where we were extremely popular and well cared for by the organizers.  We were also joined there by Stuart form the MK Garrison... thanks Stu!! 

Paul had brought his Lord Vader with him and made his appearance later with accompanying loud Lord Vader style breathing and music and we were then even more popular than we had been previously.  We posed for photos for a while and then went and posed by some of the fantastic classic cars as well... They were gleaming in the sun and we were somewhat hot and perspiring! ! Boy was it hot!!!  Yet another event where you're left thinking "one of the few days where I'm not at work and could be getting a tan if it were not for the fact that you're covered in white plastic!" but that's what its all about.... trooping in all weather with good friends and for worthy causes.

We took a break because of the heat after one circuit of the cars before going back out again before lunch and then stopping for a lunch break... all kindly provided by the organizers and much appreciated.  I have to say that I have never seen us all look so hot and sweaty as we did when we took our helmets off at lunch... especially poor Paul and Lord Vader... but Paul didn't complain once!  What a trooper!!!  We also met up with Gary from the MKG who had been there on Saturday in costume and had ended up dancing on stage - as a stormtrooper as part of the evening's entertainment! 

After lunch we posed for photos again and Ian got changed into his Darth Revan.  We were then briefed our next "performance" which involved us being driven back into the main stage area either in or on the back of an american pick up truck or walking at the front or at the back with a lady DJ/singer called Lynette dressed as Princess Leia.  She then entertained the crowd with a medley of songs such as "I will survive " , "Stand by your man" and "sometimes its hard to be a woman" with various of us being involved in each song... it was brilliant... and was videoed... I just hope that we can get hold of a copy.

We then took part in handing out the trophies to each of the winning cars and there were some beauts!!

The organizers were well impressed with the 99th and the MKG on both the Saturday and the Sunday and I know that an article is due to appear in their American Classic Car magazine as well. They could not thank us enough!

A huge thank you to Paul T for getting the event and to Jim, Craig, Ian, Marie, Matthew, Mark, Paul, Stuart and to Gary and all the other MK members who attended on the Saturday.  love ya!  .. this was what trooping is all about!!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

99th Garrison goes to the Spaceport in Liverpool

The 99th Garrison was asked by Mersey Travel to support the Spaceport Centre in Liverpool at its Star Wars weekend on the 13th and 14th August 2011.  We agreed and invited another group along to assist called the Mint Imperials.  We had met them previously at the Star Wars Family Fun Day in Burnely in May... excellent costumes and their own hand made props to die for!

The weekend started at about 6:00am on Saturday morning when me, Jim and Craig had to get up to leave base to be at Liverpool for 08:30am.  The trouble was that we had that much stuff to take with all the costumes, garrison publicity material and overnight gear that we could not fit it all into one car and had to take both!

On arrival at the Spaceport Centre, we located the others and set to getting set up and organised.  There was the prop table to be organised and populated, banners to put up and props to be labelled and general catch up with troopers and introductions to new members, Paul and Eric.

The Mint Imperials worked quickly and efficiently and put up their amazing props and back drops before getting changed into their costumes, including a Boba Fett, Snow Trooper, Tie fighter Pilot, Boosch, Sand trooper and Royal Guard.

We then needed to be in costume for 10:30 when the centre opened to the public and I agreed to do Biker Scout in the morning and then Memah in the afternoon.  Once ready, I spent most of the morning near the entrance to the centre posing for photos with the Mint Imperials and Paul as Lord Vader.  I didn't have time to take any photos on this troop but thanks to others such as Eric, Nigel, Ian and Marie, we managed to get some cool photos including a few in the centre's worm hole... This is Colin in his Biker Scout.  

The event had been organised by the 99th's MLO [Paul] and through his involvement with the Walking With Giants Foundation, it had been arranged for members of the WWG Charity to come to the centre in the morning for a tour and a visit as part of their WWG annual convention. The group included members from USA.  I have to confess that when WWG party arrived, I was glad that I had my helmet on as there was a tear or two....  They had a really good time though and enjoyed their visit to the centre and seeing the Star Wars characters.

The weekend also included what I believe to a first for the 99th....  We were to provide Jedi workshops every hour on the hour for the visitors.  This took place in an theater/auditorium which seated 84 people and almost every workshop was full to capacity.  The workshops were run by Paul for Saturday and Craig did some on Sunday to give Paul's voice/throat a rest.  These little workshops were a huge success with the children loving the opportunity to ask Stormtoopers questions and given them orders to do things like dance and sing and do star jumps and of course, to try on stormtrooper Armour and play with light sabres.  They also loved the opportunity to buy photo cards of us and ask us for autographs.

The weekend was very successful for the Spacecentre who told us that they had about 750 visitors on the Saturday and about 850 on the Sunday when they would normally only get about 150 per day on a weekend.  They did pay pay our travel and hotel expenses though and our lunches so we were very well looked after and appreciated.

I found somewhere quiet and private to get changed into Memah for the Saturday afternoon and am pleased to report it only took about 40 minutes to get ready!  A vast improvement on previous times when it has taken a lot longer! I spent Saturday afternoon in the centre, with the public and by the prop table and also by its entrance in an effort to keep cool, taking regular breaks from the very tight fitting lekku...  headdress!!   We finished trooping on the Saturday at about 5:00pm and then de-kitted before heading off with Craig, and Ian, Marie and Nigel who had traveled down from the North East for the event,  to Liskard to a restaurant for some much needed sustenance. 

I then had a much needed early night at the Premier Inn that we were staying at whilst, Jim, Craig and Nigel had a few drinks in the Hotel Bar.

Sunday morning was a more leisurely start with a full English cooked breakfast at the Hotel before we set off to be back at the centre for 09:00am.  

Once at the Hotel, I set off to find a private room where I could get dressed and made up into Memah again and then spent the day as Memah.  I was impressed at the number of people who knew that I was a Twi'lek although they did not necessarily know who my character was but I received lots of compliments and there were lots of children who wanted their photo taken with the "Blue Lady"

I spent most of Sunday in the Jedi workshops with Paul and Craig hosting them and Jim taking part in nearly all of them, whilst those of us who were not in the workshops and the Mint Imperials mingled and posed for photos with the visitors to the centre. The day went very, very quickly!!

There are a lot of people to thank for this event and I will probably forget some, so apologies if I do miss anyone but thanks to Jim, Craig, Nigel, Ian, Marie, Colin, Eric, Paul, Paul, Susan, Rob, Jacquie, Ken, Chris, Daz and all the crew from the Mint Imperials and a Special Huge thanks to Paul T for organising this event... it was a blast!