Star Wars Stormtroopers to invade Hudson for St. Patrick's Day Parade
PHOTO COURTESY BRIGITTE KRAMER
Stormtroopers and Star War characters were out in force in Quebec recently helping to raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
For five days a week, West Islander Eric Salottolo is a production and import-export coordinator for a Quebec company fabricating aeronautical products. On some weekends and for special occasions, he is a Stormtrooper. From a Star Wars galaxy far, far away as a proud member of the Fortress Impérial, a squad of the Canadian Garrison of the worldwide celebrated 501st Legion.
And this Saturday, March 19, Salottolo and his fellow cohorts from throughout the region will be marching along Main Road in the Hudson St. Patrick's Day Parade helping to raise funds for causes they support including the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, both the Montreal Children's Hospital and Ste. Justine Hospital, and the SPCA. Their motto? Bad guys doing good.
Explained Salottolo in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal earlier this week, “We are delighted to be back in the parade for our second year and working with the BMO Bank of Montreal on Cameron to help others less fortunate.”
So what exactly is the 501st Legion? I asked him.
Replied Salottolo, “It was formed in August 1997 and now has 8,769 active members across the world including hundreds here in Canada. We are an all-volunteer organization formed for the express purpose of bringing together costume enthusiasts under a collective identity within which to operate. And we seek to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work.”
And about their costumes? Says Salottolo, “It is a very rigorous process to become a member of the 501st. Our costumes have to be authentic, built the same way they were in the movies. It takes about a full year to put a costume together and it needs to be approved by The Legion which has a Control Reference Library that shows every guideline to follow to get it approved.”
While looking absolutely magnificent, Stormtrooper costumes do however have one slight hitch for the wearer. Laughs Salottolo “Depending on the specific costume, you can’t sit or go to the bathroom. When I wear my Stormtrooper armour, for example, I have to make sure that I don’t need to go to the bathroom for a good two hours minimum. As it takes me 20 minutes to put it on and about the same time to remove it!”
As to why he decided to join in the first place, Salottolo says he used to be a pro wrestler. “One of our referees was a Legion member and we decided to include Star Wars characters in one of our special events. While I was a big nerd of the movies, I did not know about the 501st Legion. I wanted in badly. And after years of procrastinating, I got myself a Stormtrooper armour. Now, I own two costumes, - a Stormtrooper and an Imperial Crewman – and two more costumes are on their way.”
Salottolo, along with other Legion members, will certainly be wearing one of them at the BMO Bank of Montreal branch in Hudson, 54 Cameron, for about an hour immediately following the parade to pose for pics - and for a donation no matter how big or small - with Star Wars fans. And with every cent raised going to the causes that they support.