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Jedi master recruits new knights at Lakeshore Mall Kids Club event
Emma Hogan and Jedi Master Jeff McClure fight off Darth Vader (Anton Shields) during the Young Jedi Academy event Saturday at Lakeshore Mall. - photo by Alexander Popp

Jeff McClure, owner and founder of Got Magic? Entertainment, is secretly a Jedi Master. In fact, he says you can call him Jedi Master Jefferson Starship.

Saturday, McClure and the Gainesville Lakeshore Mall Kids Club hosted a free “Young Jedi Academy” for local children.

At the free event, kids of all ages had a chance to make a foam lightsaber, learn to defend themselves in the style of a Jedi Knight and demonstrate their skills with the Force by fighting a very realistic Darth Vader, played by actor Anton Shields.

McClure, a long time Star Wars fan, said such events are important to kids.

“It’s just fun!” he exclaimed. “Star Wars is something that I loved as a 6-year-old, and it’s great seeing kids that age enjoying it now. ... It’s just important.”

Emma Hogan and her dad, David, agree.

“She got her (Rey) costume for Christmas, and she says she’s in love with Poe (played by Oscar Isaac in “The Force Awakens),” David Hogan said. “But it’s really great to finally see a female Jedi.”

After the event, McClure said the event went how he expected it to go.

“Some kids are more scared than others at events like this, but it looks like they had fun,” he said.

McClure has been doing events at Lakeshore Mall in one form or another since he was 16. His next event, “Make a Valentine,” is set for Feb. 13.