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Star Wars Day draws record crowd to Da Vinci Center

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Garrison Carida, a volunteer group which dresses up as stormtroopers and other Star Wars villains for public appearances and charity events, was one of the big draws for Star Wars Day at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown. /Photo courtesy of the Da Vinci Science Center
Garrison Carida, a volunteer group which dresses up as stormtroopers and other Star Wars villains for public appearances and charity events, was one of the big draws for Star Wars Day at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown. /Photo courtesy of the Da Vinci Science Center

The Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown saw a record day Saturday, as an event commemorating the Star Wars movie franchise brought in the center's highest single-day attendance.

The day, which the center dubbed “Star Wars Day,” brought in more than a dozen costumed Star Wars characters from a local Garrison Carida, a volunteer group which dresses up as stormtroopers and other Star Wars villains for public appearances and charity events.

Additional visitor activities included making light-saber circuits, building droids, creating Star Wars-style stop-motion animations and discovering how to create holograms with smartphones.

Lin Erickson, executive director and CEO of the science center, said 2,309 people showed up for the themed-event. That’s a big leap from the old record for single-day attendance of 1,841 for the venue’s Ice Cream Wars in January. The prior record was in December for an appearance by the Arctic Paws Sled Dogs.

“We were expecting a big draw,” Erickson said.

The more people who are exposed to the center during special events such as Star Wars Day, the more people it can inspire to become regulars of the family entertainment venue, which promotes science learning.

In fact, 80 families signed up for memberships at Saturday’s event, she said. Growing membership is a major goal for the nonprofit, which is considering an expansion and potentially moving to a new site.

Dennis Zehner, chief marketer for the center, said the benefit of such an event is that it not only draws members and regulars, but brings in a different demographic that might not normally visit. He said he saw a wide range of ages and interests among the people in attendance.

“We’ve been working hard to expand our audience,” Erickson said. “This really helped in that.”

The Da Vinci Science Center has grown from 1,703 family memberships in February 2015 to 3,192 in February of this year, an increase of 87 percent.

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Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook. Circle Stacy Wescoe on .

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