Corunna stormtrooper marches in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
A long time maintenance supervisor at Imperial’s Sarnia refinery was one of 18 Star Wars stormtroopers who marched in the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday.
Dean McInnis was still on a high from the experience when he spoke with Sarnia News Today afterwards.
“I’ve never seen that many people in one place, in my life, along the parade route,” McInnis said when describing the New York event. “I had to come a day early to get training on how to march. It’s so electrifying with all of the people screaming and yelling. It was just phenomenal. It was an experience I’ll never forget.”
McInnis, a Corunna resident, who has worked at the Sarnia refinery for 14 years, belongs to a costume group called the 501st Legion.
“We have forums, and in the forums Lucas has a database that they take everybody’s pictures and keep them and then if they have a special event, they’ll invite you to come to the event representing Disney and Lucasfilms.”
McInnis said the parade was the first time he’s been invited to an event, and he was the only Canadian in the group.
“Hopefully, I can get more of those [invitations], because I’m retiring in May so I’ll have more free time,” McInnis laughed. “I’m hoping to do more events with Disney and Lucasfilm and still do my charity work with the 501st also.”
McInnis said in order to become a member of the 501st, his costume had to be screen accurate.
“This one I started in 2019 and I got approved in 2020 in May. I haven’t been able to do too much with COVID and we’re only starting to troop now. So this is my fourth troop and I got the Macy’s Day Parade — which is pretty awesome!”
McInnis said he’s been a lifelong Star Wars fan.
“When I was 12, I saw Star Wars in the theatre 22 times and I had all of the Star Wars paraphernalia and toys and everything. It was funny, the other day I opened up my cabinet and I found my original Star Wars Fan Club patch, which is from 1977 when I was 12.”
McInnis said he started working on his costumes after visiting FanExpo in Toronto with his daughter about six years ago, and it’s since become a family affair.
“My youngest daughter, Taylor, has a Rey [Skywalker] costume from Star Wars also, so she comes to some of the events with me.”
McInnis said he also has a Mandalorian costume, which he most recently wore to the Sarnia Street Cruisers Trunk or Treat event.