Ten-year-old Patrick Young, draped in a black cape, sat on the floor of the West Ashley Books-A-Million with one opened Star Wars book on his lap and another on the floor.
He feverishly flipped through the one on the floor, nearly oblivious to kids — some in Star Wars costumes, many holding lighted toy lasers — running by him.
“I’m having so much fun,” exclaimed Young, looking up as his mother approached him. “I’m not going anywhere.”
On Saturday, the book store was one of an estimated 1,000 locations participating in the first-ever Star Wars Reads Day, an event organized by Lucasfilm and its publishing partners that celebrates reading and Star Wars.
Jonathan Frasier, a manager at the store, said matching a reading event with Star Wars is a “good combination.”
“Star Wars is one of the biggest fads of every generation since it came out and an event like this helps encourage kids to read,” Frasier said.
Whether a community could host a Star Wars Reads Day depended a lot on how organized its Star Wars fans are. The Lowcountry’s group is emerging.
Jason Boyd, 32, of Charleston, was one of two members of the 501st Legion Carolina Garrison that showed up for the event, along with a store employee who dressed up in a $2,000 Star Wars Imperial Stormtrooper costume. The other garrison member, who dresses as a Boba Fett bounty hunter, drove in from Myrtle Beach to help out.
Boyd, a draftsman for an engineering company, has been a member of the 501st Carolina as an Imperial Sandtrooper since July. So far, he has made a half dozen appearances, including a Charleston Riverdogs game when the temperature hit 100.
The work is all-volunteer, tends to involve a charity and isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Boyd said putting on the costume takes 30 minutes and removing it takes 10 minutes. And it’s absolutely taboo to remove a helmet in front of people — it would hurt the fantasy.
After a struggle with the stiff, tight costume, Boyd headed to his second Star Wars Reads Day event Saturday at the nearby Barnes & Noble.
Boyd’s father, 59-year-old Ronnie Boyd, will be the next member of the garrison as an Imperial TIE (Twin Ion Engine) fighter pilot. He likened the Star Wars costuming craze to Civil War re-enactors.
The elder Boyd smiled at recalling how he and his son got hooked on Star Wars when he took his then-4-year-old son to the first “Star Wars” movie 28 years ago.
“Today, I’d say he’s more deep into it than I am. He’s seen all the movies and read all the books,” said the elder Boyd.
On Friday, Charleston County Public Library Marketing Manager Jamie Thomas said she and the staff were unaware of the Star Wars Reads Day. However, the event comes just a week before Teen Read Week, Oct. 14-20. The library has an array of reading activities, including some related to the “Hunger Games.” For a calendar, go to www.ccpl.org.
Teen Read Week is sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association.