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A 'Star Wars'-Studded Alex's Lemonade Stand

Star Wars characters, Rita's Water Ice employees and enthusiasts of all ages joined 'Forces' to raise money for the fight against childhood cancer.

The Empire—and Chewbacca—struck Rita's Water Ice's Alex's Lemonade Stand event in Lower Frederick Sunday afternoon.

Joined by Foundation Hero Ambassadors Jenn Engle and Jonathan Nagrant, Alexandra Scott's family, Zieglerville Rita's co-owners and employees, volunteers from New Eden Fellowship Church and area residents of all ages, the motley crew was united by one cause—to raise money in the fight against childhood cancer.

The Rita's franchise and its customers are longtime supporters of the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, and apparently, so are the denizens of "a galaxy far, far away."

The Star Wars visitors are members of Garrison Carida, part of the 501st Legion, "the world's definitive imperial costuming organization." Garrison Carida is a volunteer outfit that devotes time to community and charity events and organizations—Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and Alex's Lemonade Stand are among them.

Seeing so many villains from the Star Wars universe in attendance, this reporter  asked one portrayer if Storm Troopers get a bad rap. Laughing, he quoted the organization's mission, "We're bad guys doing good."

"We could just do conventions and be 'nerds in plastic,'" he continued, but instead, members of the organization dive in and try to be a part of their communities.

Marty Miller, the man beneath the "walking carpet," noted how rewarding it was to bring joy to different groups of people.

"It's great when we visit children's hospitals and have the parents tell us it's the first time their kids have smiled (in a while)," he said.

Attendees—some sporting their own Star Wars costumes and carrying lightsabers—as well as several excited, yellow-shirted Rita's employees, clamored for time and photos with the characters. One young boy walked away from his photo op with a big grin on his face.

"Best. Day. Ever," he announced.

Also volunteering their time that afternoon, two members of the New Eden Fellowship Church were in charge of the bouncy castle and face painting for the younger visitors.

Attendees could also spin a wheel of prizes in exchange for a donation, as well as buy raffle tickets for the chance to win tickets to Regal movie theaters, the Reading Phillies and Hersheypark.

Other guests that day included Liz Scott, Alex's mother and vice president of outreach and communications for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation.

"I wanted to come out and thank the people of the community for being so generous, and of course thank Rose (Hanlon, co-owner) and her staff for everything they do to help us fight pediatric cancer," Scott said.

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