Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL
August 20, 2006
Story by Chris Spice (Darth Spice)
Photos by Chris Spice (Darth Spice) and Chris Rhoads (dustrho)

 

THE EMPIRE TAKE OVER THE ZOO
There couldn’t have possibly been a better weather forecast for the Zoo Stars Parade today at the Brookfield Zoo. With temperatures in the mid 80s, how could I pass up an opportunity to get out again with the Midwest Garrison? The Zoo Stars Parade is a celebration of the animals held over two weekends in August. The animal for our day was Leopards; however getting costumed personnel from three separate factions was not nearly as fast as our animal representative. As members poured in from the 501st Legion, Rebel Legion and the Jedi Assembly, the locker room atmosphere was very jovial for so many members of either side of the force being in the same place at the same time! The stars of Star Wars were well represented, with so many different characters. Darth Vader, Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Princess Leia and of course all the Troops and Jedi to even out the balance. There were Tusken Raiders, a pair of Royal Guards, a thrice of Kamino Clone children and even a very well put together R2-D2. One half of the Droids we are looking for!

There were literally too many characters to mention. There was even a Snow Padme Amidala and our agents on site spotted a Clone Trooper escort. The Chicago Cultural Center Dragon Dancers were on point, the three Star Wars groups were in the middle of the block long plus parade and the South Shore Drill Team was left to ooh and ah the people in our wake! The Brookfield Zoo is one of the largest in the Chicago land area and to be quite honest I really expected to be walking a lot longer. From start to finish it couldn’t have been more than a half hour. As I mentioned earlier you really couldn’t have picked a nicer day to be outside, even in armor. Marching alongside dustrho, handing out temporary tattoos to children who waved alongside the path were mere fringe benefits. At the end of the parade we posed for a few more group photos but I had the feeling everyone else was just as eager to get out of our gear as well. It seemed to take longer to get ready than to do the actual event!

At a place like that you could be there until sundown being asked for photos, not that I really would mind that but it was starting to get a bit uncomfortable. I quickly suited down and had another benefit of spending a few good hours with my wife and children walking around the Zoo. It was really good to see how many of the other members had family with them as well. Our Jr. S.C.A.L.P. Weapons Supplier will be moving up to B.F.G. training very soon! It’s strange, because even though there is so much Star Wars involved, in an odd way feels like family. I’ve been a very active member for well over a year now, and many are becoming very good friends. I can’t put into words the honor it is to serve the Legion. To see the smiles of not only my own, but so many children, wherever we go. I’d like to thank all of the members, from every group that took time out to make the day so special. Especially to Phyllis Schulte who did a simply magnificent job of coordinating the event. Thanks to our friends at the Brookfield Zoo for having us out, we look forward very much to our next mission.

PHOTO GALLERY
To see the photo gallery containing 34 photos click here.