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Star Wars convention returns to Hastings

Star Wars is coming to Hastings. The third annual Charity Con will be held in Hastings from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at the Hastings National Guard Armory.

Charity Con is a Star Wars convention with a mission: helping the less fortunate in the area. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Hastings food shelf.

Keith Garrick launched Charity Con in 2010. He's a huge fan of all things Star Wars, and wanted to use his passion to help those less fortunate in the Hastings area. But Garrick isn't alone in his mission. Alan Flyng and Pam Rose, both of London, both acted in Star Wars films. Flyng was a storm trooper in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and an Imperial officer in "Return of the Jedi" (1983). Rose played the Leesub Sirln in "Star Wars" (1977). Both Flyng and Rose are involved with Charity Con.

"Alan and I support many charities," Rose said. "We have been blessed with our long careers and are happy to now use our celebrity status to help others."

Rose and Flyng are regular participants in Star Wars charities around the world.

"This year we average at least two a month," Rose said. "I have been to Canada, Spain and Germany and will go to Denmark in November. Alan has done most of them with me and we are both off to Canada next year to London, Ontario, and Niagara Falls in May and France."

Although some actors and actresses would brush off a local event in a small town like Hastings, Flyng and Rose are proud supporters of the Hastings event.

"Every charity is worthwhile, and we are both proud of Keith's achievements and will always try our best to support him," Rose said.

This year's event includes a Star Wars toy vendor, face painting, Star Wars statue displays, costume contests for kids and adults, food vendors and cos-tumed characters such as Chewbacca, Bobba Fett, Commander Cody, Darth Vader and more who will be available for pictures. An auction will also be held, at which Star Wars items and autographs donated by Star Wars celebrities will be sold. Donated Halloween costumes for both adults and children will also be collected at the event. The costumes will be donated to Hastings Family Service to help families in need have a more enjoyable Halloween holiday.

Rose said she's not sure how, exactly, she and Flyng will be helping out this year. Usually they send autographed Star Wars items to Garrick to auction off at Charity Con, she said. But however they contribute, they're pleased with the cause they're supporting and the dedication of the event's coordinator.

"We admire Keith and his dedication, as well as the help his daughter contributes," Rose said. "We are impressed, we like the food shelf program, which seems to be the most practical way of helping in these difficult times."

Charity Con is also looking for people with Star Wars costumes to help set up and run the event. Volunteers should contact Keith Garrick at or through the Charity Con Facebook page.