It’s finally happening, the Empire has fallen, and the Jedi are returning. Oops, wait. That is, another Star Wars celebration is finally taking place after decades of planning. The Forest Moon Festival is being held in and around the redwood forest used as the filming location for the moon of Endor in Northern California. The Forrest Moon Festival aims to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” the third film in George Lucas‘s original trilogy. Cassandra Hesseltine, Commissioner of the event, wants it like the 4th of July in terms of scale.
More Than a Festival
Hesseltine wants to reintroduce love, fun, and joy in the community. “It’s my love letter back to the region. People need happy things and things to inspire us — like the Renaissance after the Dark Ages,” she said. “Yeah, it will help the economy, as people will stay in hotels and eat out. But it’s so much more than that. It’s a holiday. It’s that Fourth of July feeling with everybody out and about, all united. We’ve been so divided between the pandemic and politics; this is not one of those things.”
It’s been a battle- not unlike Endor- to get the event off the ground. Near decades of back and forth with Lucasfilm (and later Disney) about the use of official “Star Wars” IP was no Ewok picnic.
To continue the festivities, 4 screenings of “Return of the Jedi” will take place in Downtown Eureka and on Cal Poly Humboldt’s campus in Arcata. Guests are encouraged to dress up, and really immerse themselves in the experience. The Humbolt Crabs Baseball team will be participating. The Arts Alive Street Fair in Eureka will even have a 20-person contingent of white-armored, barn-side-missing troops. That’s right- Stormtroopers will be marching down Main Street.
It’s an admirable goal to be sure. The pandemic has caused enormous shifts in social interaction and has changed how people interact with one another. Much like Luke hoped to reignite the Jedi Knights, Hesseltine is hoping to create a return of unity and community.
For more information about the Forrest Moon Festival, scheduled to take place June 2nd-3rd, visit their official website here. Vendors have until May 26th to apply to participate. YubNub!