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Dinner on The Dark Side
April 3 3:58 PM
The Omaha Children's Museum will host its first-ever Dinner on the Dark Side on April 22 from 6 to 9 p.m. This event is unlike anything we've held before: More activities like Jedi Training, more take-home goodies, a 501st costume exhibit, and a fun game called Blast-A-Trooper. PLUS, we've got Star Wars-themed food.

We're limiting the amount of people who can attend to ensure quality interaction with a ton of characters. So don't wait too long to get tickets. Tickets are $30 for members and $35 for non-members, and include activities, food, and the first chance to see the 501st costume exhibit. Tickets are available here.

Honoring volunteers
During the event, we'll have a special ceremony honoring the volunteer members of 501st Central Garrison, Rebel Legion, Mandalorian Mercs, and R2 Builders. These ladies and gentlemen volunteer their time to attend dozens of fundraisers and community events. The ceremony we have planned is inspired directly by one of the Star Wars movies!

Meet some of the volunteers who will be honored on April 22:

“Making fans' dreams come to life is ridiculously rewarding, especially when their eyes light up. Being able to run around in costume for charity is a HUGE bonus as well.” Afton Palmer of Omaha (Kylo Ren, Imperial Bridge Crew), a member of 501st Legion since May 2016

“Wearing the Kashyyyk Scout at Star Wars Celebration 7, a small boy came up and said ‘YOU'RE MY FAVORITE!’ And he had the action figure in his hand. I gave him my trading card. Months later his mother emailed me and told me he literally takes it everywhere and won't even sleep at night without it. Made me feel like a million galactic credits!”

Why does he volunteer? “Being a Star Wars character is a life long dream. The fact that we can do this and do massively important and significantly impacting charity work at the same time just makes it all the better!” Colin Oestreich of Decatur, Ill. (Boba Fett, Bossk, Shoretrooper, Tusken Raider, Kashyyyk Scout Trooper), member of 501st Legion and Mandalorian Mercs for 4 years

“Nothing is better than using the love of Star Wars to raise money for charities for children and seeing them smile.” Zachary "Cajun" Flott of Crescent, Iowa (Strata Vekis), member of Mandalorian Merc for 5 years

Why he volunteers: “It brings Star Wars to life for the people who wouldn't otherwise get to experience it. We work hard to bring something special into the lives of those who are less fortunate and would otherwise not get to experience Star Wars without us.” John "Supergirl" Jaeckel of Omaha (Royal Guard, First Order Stormtrooper, Shoretrooper), 501st Legion member for 16 years

Why he volunteers: “The people I do it with are phenomenal, and the events we do always make people’s day better.” Reid Christensen of Lincoln, Neb. (Rebel Fleet Trooper), member of Rebel Legion since May 2016

Most memorable experience: “Going to the Omaha Children's Museum (my first official troop!) and seeing how excited the kids were to see us. Felt good to make them so happy!” Jorr'ad Torr of Bellevue, member of Mandalorian Mercs for a year

“Charity is the biggest reason I troop.” Jeff Schipman of Worms, Neb. (Rebel Legion Rebel Fleet trooper, Jedi, 501st- Imperial Officer, R2 Builder - R2-TD), member of Rebel Legion since 2005, R2 Builders since 2009, and 501st Legion since 2012

Most memorable experience: “I met a deaf boy who saw me as Stormtrooper … and he came to me with sign language. I was surprised then chatted with him in sign.” James "Deaf Trooper" LaGreca of Omaha (Imperial officer, Stormtrooper, Tie Fighter Pilot, and Shoretrooper), member since June 2013

Why he volunteers: “To put smiles on kids faces (both young and old alike) and to spread the love of Star Wars!”
Two most memorable experiences: “The first was when a kid named Charlie gave me a picture he colored of Han Solo because Han was his favorite character. The second was when Mark Hamill reached out and shook my hand after seeing me in my costume.” Steven "Corellian Scoundrel" Umholtz of Lincoln, Neb. (Han Solo: Episode IV (Mos Eisley) and Han Solo: Episode V (Bespin)), his first troop as a Rebel Legion member was in April 2010.

Why he volunteers: “Making a difference to brighten someone's day, and help raise money for charity.” His most memorable experience was helping present a child a Stormtrooper-themed bionic arm at his grade school assembly. Matt Partusch of Omaha (Stormtrooper), member for one year

“My most memorable experience was during my first troop at the children's museum, hearing all of the kids who recognize my character.”
Chris Tock of Omaha (Captain Rex), member for 4 months

Why he volunteers: “I love wearing the costume, may as well wear it for some good with good people.” Paul McArthur of St. Louis (Stormtrooper), member of 501st Legion for 1 ½ years


Most memorable experience: “Giving so many high fives at a walk for autism that it hurt to hold my arm up.” Mike Donovan of Omaha (Royal Guard, StormTrooper), member of 501st Legion for 3 years


“I volunteer to bring smiles to people’s faces and promote Star Wars to everyone.” Ryan Ihnken of Bellevue (Imperial Officer, Rancor Keeper, StormTrooper), member of 501st Legion since November 2011

Her most memorable experience was at a Lancer Hockey Star Wars Night, when a little girl tugged on her mom's shirt excitedly and screamed "THATS A GIRL!!" Jessica volunteers because she likes “making people smile and encouraging nerd culture.” Jessica Kubec of Omaha (Custom Mandolorian Merc), member of Mandolorian Mercs for 2 years

“I volunteer because I like meeting new people, bringing joy to kids and raising money for charity.” Audra Oestreich of Bellevue (Bridge Crew Member), new member in the 501st Legion


“I've loved Star Wars my whole life and now I get to live it.” He volunteers because he loves making kids smile. Bryan Dulaney of Lincoln (Xwing Pilot), member of the Rebel Legion

“I volunteer so I can share the love of Star Wars, raise money for charities for children, and see them smile.” Eric "Tenko" Richardson of Omaha (Jango Fett), member of the Mandalorian Merc for 2 years, R2 Builders for 2 years, and 501st for a year

“I volunteer to see people smile.” Brian Nelson of Omaha (Death Star Gunner, AT-AT Driver, Sandtrooper), member of the 501st Legion

“I volunteer because I like making kids smile.” Adam Basye of Omaha (Gamorrean, Chewbacca), member of the 501st Legion for 4 years and Rebel Legion for 2 years

“My most memorable experience was my first troop as Vader and seeing the huge impact the character had firsthand. It's both a privilege and responsibility to portray Lord Vader.” Jim Schultze of Omaha (Darth Vader, TIE Fighter Pilot, Imperial Gunner), member of the 501st Legion

“I volunteer for charity, a love of Star Wars and seeing kids and adults smile.” Shawn Miller of St. Louis ( Drogon Kur ), member of the Mandalorian Mercs for almost 1 year
Category: Museum News Tags: Special Events
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