How outdoor recreation groups are taking advantage of Star Wars Day

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 3:38 PM EDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 6:23 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - Break out the lightsabers, and May the Fourth be with you! It’s National Star Wars Day!

It’s a time for fans to celebrate all things pertaining to a galaxy far, far away. But you don’t have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to celebrate.

Some outdoor recreation groups in Rutland County planned some fun activities in Pine Hill Park to mark the holiday. Instead of making it one big weekend event, they decided to spread it out

From the outside, it may not look like much. But along the trails, you can learn about animals. And you may even find a fan favorite-- Baby Yoda!

“I am a huge Star Wars fan!” said Sarah Graham of Slate Valley Trails.

Graham is taking that fandom to her latest project. Slate Valley Trails is working with the nonprofit Come Alive Outside to bring the galaxy not so far, far away.

“A few organizations in town decided to come together to create a way for Star Wars fans of all ages and abilities to get some movement outdoors and check out some trails,” said Arwen Turner of Come Alive Outside.

But first, train you must. No ancient Jedi texts to study here or wise masters. A pamphlet at the beginning of the trail tells you how to complete your training through May 10.

Turner has had the idea for the past 10 years; this was the first year the Force was there to aid her.

“We’re seeing that this has been very successful and we’re really bringing the whole community and people that maybe we haven’t seen out, in the programs, or our in the woods before, so definitely there is something to this and we’re going to think about doing more fandom type events throughout the year,” Turner said.

You may even find yourself on a Mandalorian mission. Hidden along the trails are Baby Yodas. Any lucky Jedi who finds him gets to adopt him.

If you submit a picture of you and Baby Yoga, you get a free hydro flask.

There’s also a survey on the back you can fill out to get a Jedi necklace.

Graham’s kids, ages 11, 10 and 7, are fans as well. They explored the trails Tuesday morning.

“They’re thrilled,” Graham said. “Anything that we can do to inspire kids to get outside and enjoy nature. And sometimes it is a hurdle to do that, but programming like this just is an incentive and now I don’t have to lead them with M&Ms. It’s like yeah, let’s go hit the trail.”

Reporter Olivia Lyons: Do any of you really like Star Wars?

Mackenzie Graham, 11: Oh yeah, it’s pretty confusing to me, but I love the Porgs and animals in it. It’s really funny.

Olivia Lyons: And you also like it?

Jackson Graham, 10: I think it’s very funny. There are some scary parts and some sad ones, but I think it’s a great movie, well great movies.

They didn’t find a Baby Yoda this time, but their friend did over the weekend. And the program appears to be working. Both kids say they’re eager to get outside and move.

“It’s really fun to get outside and find the Baby Yodas and I just really like going outside on these trails,” Mackenzie said.

“It’s really, really fun and it’s beautiful some of the days,” Jackson said.

In addition to Pine Hill Park in Rutland, Delaney Woods in Wells, Fairgrounds Trailhead in Poultney and South Poultney River and Rail Trail are all taking part.

And if you don’t find a Baby Yoda when you visit, don’t give up! Check back another day. More will appear along the trails.

The events have been a big draw. Organizers say there were 50-100 people visiting the trails every two hours. And they’re seeing new faces because of this.

For more information:

May The Fourth Be With You! Don't forget the Jedi Trail Training Guides will be available on our May the Fourth Trails...

Posted by Come Alive Outside on Tuesday, May 4, 2021

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