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Ballymena Today talk to the Emerald Garrison

The Emerald Garrison is a club which has done brilliant work in Ballymena and throughout Northern Ireland. Here are Ballymena Today we are lucky enough to know quite a few members of the Emerald Garrison. Our friend Janine has answered some of our questions about the Emerald Garrison to give you an insiders view! Thanks Janine for taking time to answer our questions…..

Ballymena Today talk to the Emerald Garrison

The Emerald Garrison is Ireland’s longest running premiere Star Wars costuming club. Our members attend events to help raise awareness and money for various charities throughout Ireland. The club is completely voluntary and we make our costumes ourselves, to a very high standard. This year the club is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary.

Happy Anniversary! How did you get involved with the Emerald Garrison?

After showing interest in the club at a local Comic Convention, we were invited to sign up as members and it’s went from there.

I portray Princess Leia in her Endor costume from Return of the Jedi and Gavin portray’s Biggs Darklighter, a Rebel Pilot from A New Hope. Although we are currently both working on our second costumes.

Photos via Warren Blair Photography (Janine is pictured far right)

We cannot wait to see your second costumes, we know how much time and work goes into making them as accurate as possible. What has been your best experience as part of the Emerald Garrison?

The club runs our own events called ‘Invasion’ two or three times a year in various cities, which are always an incredible experience – they are big events with full size, hand built sets and props and an amazing number of costumes in attendance.

Some of the best experiences have come from smaller events where we’ve gotten involved with fundraising to help raise money for local charities.

We all, at the Emerald Garrison, have one thing in common – we’re big kids at heart who love Star Wars. There’s nothing we enjoy more than coming together and dressing up in costume – we meet some amazing people at our events. The kids in particular make it all worth it, seeing their faces light up when they fist bump a Stormtrooper or get a hug from Chewbacca is honestly one of the best feelings… and the idea that we are also helping out with charity at the same time? It’s a fantastic hobby to be involved with.

Photos via Warren Blair Photography (Gavin is pictured on the left)

How has being a part of the Emerald Garrison changed your life?

First and foremost, we’ve made some great friends through the club who we probably would never have met if we hadn’t have joined. On a personal level, it’s helped my build my confidence and self esteem. Plus it’s also very inspiring to see people building and making costumes, if anything it’s rekindled my interest in craft/creativity.

How do we find out more?

We have the official Emerald Garrison website, where people can sign up to the forums to become members – www.emeraldgarrison.com – new members don’t need to have a costume, everyone starts as a crew member (this is where we look after those in costume, helping them get ready, setting up shows etc) but eventually most people go on to own a costume.

We also have Facebook and Twitter which are great ways of finding out about our events. Also our Instagram page is full of photos of our members from previous events.

Our troopers will be out and about at various events over the next couple of months but the next BIG event we have is Invasion Derry during Halloween weekend Sat 28th – Sun 29th October in the Foyle Arena.

Thank you to Janine from the Emerald Garrison. Well done to all of the volunteers who make the Emerald Garrison the brilliant organisation that it is. Their time and efforts have brought joy to lots of people and raised finds for charities. It has been great to find out more about the Emerald Garrison here on Ballymena Today.