500 Battle With Light Sabers in Washington Square Park Event

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Five hundred people filled Washington Square Park for the Star Wars-themed light saber battle hosted by Newmindspace last Saturday night, September 24th.  Participants picked up their reserved $5 light sabers, joined sides with either the Jedi or the Sith and battled it out in the park from 9 to 11 pm.

Before the battle began, everyone bunched together and raised their sabers, brightening the sky with neon blue, green, purple, and red lights, then counted down the seconds to the start of the fighting. Battle cries referenced other popular sci-fi and fantasy fiction, ranging from “For the Halflings!” to “Star Trek!” to “For Narnia!”  The crowd then charged and brandished their colorful weapons; some people crossed blades with many opponents at once, while others duked it out one-on-one.

“The fighting is fun, but it’s really packed," Franco Barbara said, dressed as Han Solo. "I brought my dog Charlie along for the ride.”

A few students from The King’s College attended the event.  Kingsian Jon Schaeffer shared his plan for the night, saying, “I’ll probably just stand there trying to use the force.”

Others planned to incorporate more strategy into their war tactics.  Sophomore Alex Nogy of the House of ten Boom said, “Since the light sabers can change colors, I might sporadically switch sides during the battle.”

Several onlookers and participants eventually crowded together in a circle, forming a combat ground for Jedi who challenged the pale-faced, hooded Sith Lord.  The Lord and a man dressed as Luke Skywalker engaged in a fight that portrayed the amputation of Luke’s hand in The Empire Strikes Back. Dual-wielding green lightsabers, a young Jedi-in-training was the first to break the Sith Lord’s long winning streak.

Many participants garnered both battle scars and memorable moments from the night’s fighting.  King’s sophomore Jenny Grudziecki of the House of Queen Elizabeth I said, “I have a few bruises—I got trampled when I was in the middle of the crowd.”

“A little boy killed me.  Twice,"  Freshman Grace Waligora, also of QEI, said. "He said he wanted to fight someone better.  On the upside, another guy told me that I am one hot Sith.”

Cofounder of Newmindspace Kevin Bracken noted the success of the Star Wars event. “This year we distributed 500 LED light sabers," he said. "Next year we may do 1000.”  Bracken also expressed the need for a larger venue in the future.

The light saber battle was the sixth of its kind held by Newmindspace, which has hosted 80 other events including large-scale pillow fights, bubble battles and more.  The charity organization uses proceeds from its events to fund massive public art programs.

CityCelina Durgin