Five Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day 2016

Five Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day 2016
Photo: David James © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

Star Wars fandom is at an all-time high. That's thanks in part to the new film, videogames, and TV projects launched by Disney.  It’s no surprise then that lightsaber-wielding nerds created an unofficial holiday in 2011 that's named after the franchise's best-known quote. The annual celebration has only grown, and May the Fourth Be With You (AKA Star Wars Day) is bigger than ever. 

Although the day has not much to do with with the galactic franchise beyond a simple play on the phrase “May the force be with you,” local events dot the landscape across the nation. For Miami’s Jedi and Sith, both young and old, there is plenty to do locally — and not everything involves leaving the house. 

One thing you should not do is drive to Orlando to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Sure, it's a dope theme park with Star Wars-themed attractions, but just wait. Wait until it's not Star Wars Day and save yourself from standing hours in line. Instead, here are five ways to celebrate in Miami: 

This could be you: surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers.EXPAND
This could be you: surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers.
Courtesy of Florida Supercon

5. Store Events for Children
Miami-area Barnes & Noble and the Disney Store locations are hosting events for the little ones. Obviously, these are attempts to sell products, but kids don’t care about retailer’s motivations — all they want is fun. A few Barnes & Noble stores will host a Star Wars X-Wing event. Beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, kids can engage in nerdy tabletop gaming using miniature ships for a fast-paced combat game. Visit barnesandnoble.com. The Disney Store, meanwhile, will hold its event Thursday for children ages 3 and up. Expect "Escape From Jakku Story Time" and the class "How to Draw BB-8."

Five Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day 2016
Photo by Adam Hendel

4. Lightsaber Classes
This one isn’t a strictly Star Wars Day event per se, but you can incorporate it into your weekend. For unfamiliar Padawans, the Magic City Jedi group is an LED lightsaber combat choreography class that integrates elements the Jedi Council would approve of. Attendees practice saber combat training (using foam swords at first), meditation, and yoga. The Saturday, May 7 class is for kids, but there are also regular sessions for adults. Visit magiccityjedi.com. The group will also participate during J. Wakefield's Thursday event (see number two). 

BB-8 and Rey
BB-8 and Rey
Photo by David James / ©Lucasfilm 2015

3. Free Comic Book Day
The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day, and although no Star Wars titles are on the schedule to be given away, this would be a good opportunity to visit your local comic store to pick up any number of the current titles. That includes Obi-Wan and Anakin, Darth Maul – Son of Darthomir, and a series starring many of the original heroes such as Luke, Leia, Chewy, and Darth Vader. Plus, the franchise just released a comic book story starring Poe Dameron. Once the impending release of The Force Awakens and the subsequent two films were announced, most of the Star Wars canon of the past 30 years was unceremoniously dumped by Disney, and now is the time to read how Marvel is reshaping it. Visit freecomicbookday.com

Oscar Isaac once sat in a barrel chair at J. Wakefield Brewing.EXPAND
Oscar Isaac once sat in a barrel chair at J. Wakefield Brewing.
Adam Hendel

2. J. Wakefield's May the Fourth Celebration
The most fanboy bar in Miami will host a big ol’ Star Wars party that’s adults only. In addition to cosplay, prize giveaways, and the original trilogy playing on repeat in the background, the big draw to the Wynwood brewery is the specialty beers they’ve whipped up. Guests can guzzle brews concocted especially for May the Fourth, including BB8 Tang IPA, Let the Wookie Win Imperial Stout, Chewbacca's Morning Coffee, Sand Trooper Grapefruit IPA, and Fastest Hunk of Junk in the Galaxy Brown Ale. One sip and you can imagine sitting in the cantina about to see Han Solo shoot first. Visit jwakefieldbrewing.com.

The Force is strong with this stellar event: See Wednesday.
The Force is strong with this stellar event: See Wednesday.
© Lucasfilm Ltd.

1. Call Out of Work and Have a Star Wars Movie Marathon
Cheap, simple, and, if you have people over, your best shot at getting laid in an R2-D2 T-shirt. Recommended viewing includes Episodes IV, V, and VI, The Force Awakens, and the animated series The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Not recommended, ever, are the prequels with which George Lucas blighted the Earth — unless you have some brews at J. Wakefield first. Then it’s OK because it’ll turn watching those flops into a comedy marathon.

While you're on your couch, you might as well start saving those pennies and planning for Disney Cruise Line's launch of its Star Wars at Sea ships in 2017. From January to April 2017, guests will be able to party with film characters on deck, take photos, watch screenings of the films and TV shows, and participate in themed games and Padawan lightsaber training. It’s essentially everything on the list above, but on a 130,000-ton cruise ship. 

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