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Summer day campers took photos with stormtroopers, carved designs into leather and watched drones take flight Friday at a preview of the Henry Ford’s Maker Faire.

Summer in the City, a volunteer program, brought nearly 500 children from kindergarten through fifth grade to learn about inventing and creation in preparation for the opening of the seventh Maker Faire at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn.

Among the things the kids could do was touch replica “Star Wars” costumes from the Great Lakes Garrison, the 501st Legion Michigan chapter.

Keiara Wilson, 9, of Detroit said she liked how realistic the stormtroopers’ costumers were.

“They’re a little scary, but they’re sweet,” said Keiara as she held up a photo of her with one.

In addition to exploring the museum and historic village, they participated in arts and crafts, got a lesson in computer coding and watched a flying drone demonstration and race by the Detroit Drone User Group.

Keiara’s 8-year-old cousin carved his name into a leather bracelet.

“I was working with the tools,” Andrell Wilson said. “I used a hammer. It was fun.”

The event preview “gives these kids the opportunity to explore the Maker Faire when they may not have the opportunity to do so normally,” said Melissa Foster, Henry Ford media and film relations manager. “It teaches them about innovative solutions and making creations. We hope they will share ideas and be inspired by each other.”

Comerica Inc. sponsored the event for the second year in a row with an $8,000 grant, said Janice Tessier, vice president of the Comerica Charitable Foundation.

Maker Faire is open to the public Saturday and Sunday and features hundreds of makers specializing in robotics, 3-D printing, virtual reality, crafts, flame shooters and more, Foster said. New to this year’s event is a 15-foot-tall paintball-shooting robot from MegaBots Inc.

Tickets are $28 for adults and $19 for children under 12.

bnoble@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2032

Twitter: @RightandNoble

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