The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Statues of Yoda, Indiana Jones unveiled at new N. Calif. park on land donated by George Lucas

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SAN ANSELMO, Calif. - In a park not so far away, iconic filmmaker George Lucas on Thursday unveiled statues of two of his most movie popular characters.

With doves released in the air, Lucas was on hand to show off the bronze renderings of Indiana Jones and Yoda at the new Imagination Park in his hometown of San Anselmo, the Marin Independent Journal (http://bit.ly/107I7QL) reported.

About 500 people cheered as they got their first look at the statues depicting the hero of the Indiana Jones movie series that stands at about 6-foot-3 as well as the 2 1/2 feet full-sized replica of the Jedi sage from the groundbreaking "Star Wars" franchise.

"I've never seen so many people in downtown San Anselmo," said Annabelle Reber, who was at the event with her two young children and their family dog. "We're very excited that the town finally has a central gathering spot."

Lucas donated the land for the 8,700-square-foot nearly completed downtown park in Marin County by razing an existing building at his expense and also paying for the bronze statues created by Berkeley sculptor Lawrence Noble.

He hopes that the statues will serve as a reminder that the movie franchises were conceived in San Anselmo.

"One of the facts which a lot of people don't know about San Anselmo is that both "Star Wars and Indiana Jones" were created here," Lucas said. ""Star Wars" especially was made here. The actual film was made here. So now we have a little monument to remind everybody that this is where the whole thing started."

San Anselmo resident Dan Baker says he's happy with the new park.

"It has now become a place for the community to meet instead of a building that never seemed to find a purpose," Baker said. "Our kids (saw) the statues unveiled today, and in time, they can bring their own kids here."

Officials say a community foundation fund has so far raised about $125,000 of the $300,000 needed for the park's ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

The $125,000 does not include a $10,000 donation approved this month by the San Anselmo Town Council.

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Information from: Marin Independent Journal, http://www.marinij.com

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