The Midwest Garrison is the Illinois chapter of The 501st Legion, a Star Wars Imperial costuming club. The 501st is dedicated to the movie-quality costumes of the “villains” of the Star Wars universe.
The MWG provides a means for Star Wars fans to meet and network with each other to engage in the hobby of building and improving Imperial costumes from the Star Wars movies.
All of our costumes are scratch-built or “fan-made,” whether through the arduous process of building molds and vacuum-forming, or assembling costumes from found objects.
The majority of our costumes are not available through retail channels. LucasFilms, Ltd. prohibits any mass sales from unlicensed vendors. To become a member of the 501st Legion,
one must build and own a costume of the highest quality and as close to appearance in published Star Wars media as possible.
In addition to providing a network for fans to meet, MWG is committed to the community. We offer support at charity events, fundraisers, and social functions by appearing as
film-authentic Star Wars characters. While there is no cost to engage our services, we encourage donations to charity on our behalf instead.
Some notable charities with whom we’ve worked include:
- The American Cancer Society
- Children’s Memorial Hospital, Chicago
- Chicago Food Depository
- Toys for Tots
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
History of the MWG
The Midwest Garrison was founded in Illinois by Michael Washko (TK-895), Luis Boileve (TK-604), Javier Esqueda (TK-265), and Arturo Delgado (TK-412), in the summer of 1999 during Wizard World. Doug Fesko (TK-501), Robb Roidt (TK-321), Damian Jorgensen (TK-826) and other members quickly joined.
By the end of 1999, the Midwest Garrison had over 25 members across its original states; Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Indiana formed the Bloodfin Garrison in 2002, and Ohio followed the same path and formed the Ohio Garrison a year later. The Midwest Garrison continued to grow and by 2005, reached over 200 members across the three remaining states. In 2007, members in Wisconsin formally organized the Wisconsin Squad (which became the Wisconsin Garrison in 2010), and Michigan Squad moved on to become the Great Lakes Garrison.
Nevertheless, the Midwest Garrison continues to grow with over 250 active members in Illinois and serving the community.