Firstly, “Heroes of the Troop” awards need to go to Ian MacPherson without whom there’d have been a little barrel-shaped hole at the event (plus R2 wouldn’t have got there either) and Colin Robertson for his best Imperial Officer style child wrangling (and sturdy robot stopping boots) in keeping sticky, ice-creamed, pokey, proddy hand contact off of the droid in question. Your collective efforts were well noted and appreciated gents…
Being somewhat at a distance from the Imperial presence during the first half I can’t speak for the lads, but if their experience was anything like mine this was a great event where our presence was really appreciated. A wall of kids quickly surrounded the droid when he rolled out of the changing facilities and with the soft play nature of the place he was very nearly rooted to the spot reduced to dome spinning and beeping for the duration lest he damage any of the unshod tiny feet.
I’m not entirely sure how hygienic a processing of little girls kissing his dome actually is in these Swine Flu rampant times but I’m sure the chocolatey sheen he’s built up can be passed off as ‘simulated Dagobah mud’ if anyone asks.
There were a lot of extremely patient parents around too apparently, because I doubt one of them actually got a photo of their little ones with the droid without three or four random kids hugging him also in the shot.
Speaking of the randoms, just what they imagined they’d see by repeatedly trying to look down his photoreceptor eyes, I don’t know but unfortunately when some of the more… “exuberant”… kids cottoned onto the fact that his dome could be lifted as well as spun, it was time to take him for an early bath prior to lunch.
While the wee chap was resting in his Winnebago between engagements, I got the opportunity to see what the rest of the lads were up to. No less busy at their end of the venue, there seemed to be a lot of kids with a dangerously geeky amount of knowledge kicking about, presumably because the event had been advertised as a Star Wars day, wanting to hold in-depth conversations with the characters, witness “are you a lambda class shuttle pilot?” or “are you Darth Vader’s elite Stormtrooper guards?”, from articles no taller than Artoo himself, clad in their Clone Wars t-shirts. Honestly, when I was that age, I just watched the films for the ‘splosions and fighting.
After a terrific lunch provided by the Buzz folks and a little TLC to his castors, R2 and the troopers took to the floor again for an outstandingly fast paced second stint. More so than their parents, some of the older kids had figured out that there must be someone with a remote hiding nearby controlling things leading to a procession of “make him do this” and “make him do that” requests. Fortunately the two-floor design of the building allowed me to stand on the landing halfway up the stairs and oversee his function without my presence being obvious, safe in the knowledge that Colin was acting as chaperone, as R2 rolled about to face the relevant camera for each photo opportunity. When even this arrangement became obvious I was able to retire upstairs and seat myself at one of the cafe tables out of view to further confound the droids’ delighted onlookers.
Some annoying battery failures aside, this was a welcome return troop at the venue, so roll on the next one. Hopefully next time we’ll get some laser shootin’ done afterwards too…