Jeff Whitted cosplaying Old Ben poses for a photo during the GDC Star Wars day benefiting the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Photo by Scott Ball.
Jeff Whitted, cosplaying as Old Ben, poses for a photo in downtown San Antonio during on Star Wars Day, 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

Just a few hours ago, in a galaxy not so far away…members of the Star Wars Society of San Antonio gathered downtown to cosplay – dress up in character costumes –for a good cause. Boba Fett, Old Ben, Darth Vader, and a handful of Storm Troopers hit the pavement for a $500 donation to St. Baldrick’s Foundation benefiting childhood cancer research. “May the Fourth” has become Star Wars Day, an homage to the line “May the Force be with you.”

Workers and tourists walking to lunch downtown took a few moments to pose for photos with their favorite character from the popular Star Wars movie series (see photo gallery above).

I spoke with Jeff Whitted, a retired veteran who has been cosplaying as Old Ben (Obi-Wan Kenobi) for 20 months, about his involvement in the Star Wars universe. Jeff has been a Star Wars fan since the beginning when the first movie was released in 1977. He watched it in a drive-through theater while he was stationed in Germany.

“It’s so much fun, I love doing it for the charity St. Baldrick’s, but I love doing it for the kids to see the smile on their face.  When we were in the Fiesta Flambeau parade just walking down seeing the kids faces light up  screaming ‘Obi-Wan’ as you’re walking down the street. Of course, they were also screaming Darth Vader and Chewbacca, but I didn’t quite hear all that.”

Old Ben uses the force to stop traffic during the GDC Star Wars day benefiting the St. Baldrick's Foundation. Photo by Scott Ball.
Old Ben uses the force to stop traffic in downtown San Antonio on Star Wars Day, 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

I asked him for his thoughts on the highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film set to be released this Winter:

“I’m so looking forward to it. I’m not watching any of the trailers, I’m not looking at any of the pictures.  I don’t want to be spoiled by the rumors and everything. I want to wait until it comes out,” he said. But that doesn’t stop him from enjoying other avenues of Star Wars entertainment. “Even when they weren’t making the movies I read about 200 Star Wars books.”

Monday’s gathering was organized in partnership with local marketing agency GDC Marketing and Ideation in celebration of their 20th anniversary.

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Scott Ball

Scott Ball is San Antonio Report's photo editor and grew up in San Antonio.