‘Star Wars’ fans hit stratosphere

BAR HARBOR — The Criterion Theatre will premiere a “sneak peek” of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. as part of a week of activities surrounding the release of the film that has pushed fans around the world into a frenzy.

According to theater Director Heather Martin, advance ticket sales for those shows have been brisk. “We are sold out in the balcony for the first two nights,” she said.

The big day of events will be on Friday, Dec. 18. Much of the downtown and surrounding merchants have joined in the excitement, resulting in a special street closure of a portion of Cottage Street from 3-6 p.m. during the premiere, as well as the creation of an “intergalactic passport.”

“Fans may pick up their blank passports at the theater, then collect stickers from participating shops that are designated as ‘planetary outposts,’ before returning them to the theater for potential prizes,” said Carrie Jones, board member.

The Criterion also will host a costume march on Friday at 4 p.m. Costumes will be judged on Friday at 5 p.m. There also will be a Jedi Academy with light saber training, an exhibit of “fan art” and trivia contests. Prizes will be awarded in numerous categories.

For the first week, the movie plans to set up a photo booth with life-size Star Wars characters.

On Saturday, Dec. 19, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Criterion will host an artists’ reception that is free and open to the public featuring Star Wars themed “mocktails” and fun hors d’oeuvres. The Star Wars fan art show by local artists and students will be exhibited at the Criterion Theatre from Dec. 17 to 23. The art show is free to enter.

All submissions must be dropped off at the Criterion by Dec. 13 between 10 a.m. and noon. Contact Ed Hawe at [email protected] for more information.

The movie runs through Dec. 28.

All are encouraged to participate. A full schedule of events may be found at www.criteriontheatre.org.

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