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The Jedi Force awakens in children in Gainesville
Kids can make lightsaber, be trained to use it during event at Lakeshore Mall
Costumed attendees dressed as Jedi walk the floor of New York Comic Con Oct. 9 at the Javits Center in New York. Jeff McClure will don similar apparel and teach children how to be a Jedi during the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy on Saturday, Jan. 16, at the Lakeshore Mall in Gainesville.

Star Wars Jedi Training Academy

When: 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15

Where: Lakeshore Mall, 150 Pearl Nix Parkway, Gainesville

Cost: Free

More info: 770-535-8877 ext. 225

The release of the new Star Wars film “The Force Awakens” is reinvigorating interest in the franchise while introducing a new generation to the ways of the force and dreams of becoming a Jedi.

Lakeshore Mall is providing the first step toward achieving that dream with its Star Wars Jedi Training Academy, which takes place from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at 150 Pearl Nix Parkway.

Children will start off by decorating pool noodles as a way to create and design their own lightsabers. Next, a Jedi will teach them how to wield their lightsaber.

Then, all of a sudden, the Jedi will feel a disturbance in the force and a couple of Stormtroopers will appear and secure the area for Darth Vader, according to the organizers.

Darth Vader will try his best to turn the children to the dark side. But they will have to use their newfound Jedi skills to defeat him and save the Rebel Alliance.

In the end, the children will receive a certificate of graduation from the Jedi Academy and have a group picture taken with the Jedi, Stormtroopers and Darth Vader.

“I think it’s going to be fun for the kids,” Got Magic? Entertainment founder Jeff McClure said. “Star Wars came out when I was 6 years old, and I’m excited to be sharing something I’ve loved my whole life with kids from the community.”

McClure, otherwise known as The Magical Mr. McClure, handles the monthly children’s events at Lakeshore Mall and came up with the idea to do a Star Wars theme this month.

“It’s something that we try to do for the community to get kids to come out and parents to come out,” said Joanne Luchkowec, administrative assistant for Lakeshore Mall. “Hopefully everybody will have a good time. We’ve had some good turnouts for various kids’ events.

“It’s always interesting coming out with new and exciting things for (the children).”

McClure, who has been doing events with Lakeshore Mall since he was 16, will act as the head Jedi trainer. Local actors from Got Magic? Entertainment will portray the other roles. All of the costumes originate from McClure’s personal collection that he has built over the years.

The free two-hour event will be divided into four, 30-minute segments with 20-30 children participating at a time. It will take place in the space used for the Halloween Express next to Books-A-Million.

To register, call the mall office at 770-535-8877 ext. 225.