By Kevin Baird
CNJ staff writer
Jenna Emerich, disguised as Batman’s sidekick Robin with a tutu, lunged forward and kicked a pre-cut board, breaking it in half. The 8-year-old smiled and wandered to a martial arts dummy and with a sheepish grin on her face shoved the dummy with both hands.
Emerich, like many other kids and adults on Saturday, was attending the first Superhero Party, a fundraiser for Monarch Formals.
Ty Caffrey, president of Monarch Formals, said proceeds from the party will be used to continue Monarch Formals mission of providing formal wear to those in need. Caffrey said if people enjoy the superhero party there will be another.
“I’m a girl, and I thought it was a boy thing,” Emerich said. She said she wasn’t sure if she liked superheroes even after dressing up like one, but she was having fun.
Emerich said her favorite part of the party was the entertainment provided by the State Police and fire department. As part of the superhero party, real heroes such as police, fireman, and airmen were also invited to attend.
Emerich said she had fun racing the bikes and wearing the intoxication simulation goggles provided by the state police, and going into a fire simulation trailer, with the fire department.
Other party-goers took their costumes more seriously and resisted breaking character.
John Barnes, 29, was dressed as supervillain Dr. Doom, wearing a green hood with cape and a metal faceplate.
“Every town needs a villain,” Dr. Doom said when asked why he came to the party. “I’m looking for more people to rule over.” Dr. Doom added that he was volunteering at the party by enhancing the superhero atmosphere with his great costume.
“True heroes” from the Cannon Air force Base Explosive Ordinance Disposal team brought two reconnaissance robots to the superhero party.
Airman 1st Class Ryan Vaughan, an EOD technician, said the 310 Pacbot was being controlled by an airman using an Xbox controller. The Pacbot, which resembled a tank small enough to fit into a large backpack, whizzed around the events center following people and demonstrating the use of its claw. Vaughan said the Pacbot also has a camera that is attached to a special eye-piece that allows the operator to see explosives without putting human lives in danger.