10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Star Wars Day

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's always appropriate to celebrate your love of Star Wars, and that goes double every May 4, which has become known as Star Wars Day over the last few years (for the pun fans out there, the proper greeting is "May the Fourth Be With You").

So what do you do on Star Wars Day? Well, you’re only limited by your own imagination. You can enjoy everything from official events held by Disney to independent organizations, stores, and sports teams getting in on the fun. Then there are all the festivities you can throw on your own for you and your Star Wars-loving friends. To prepare for your own May the Fourth activities, here are 10 fun ways to celebrate Star Wars Day.

1. REWATCH THE ENTIRE SAGA.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens on a movie theater marquee
iStock

With all of the events, cosplay, merchandise, and other celebrations, it's easy to forget the most important part about Star Wars Day: the movies. And if you don't own the saga yourself, you're in luck because TBS will be playing all the installments from The Phantom Menace through The Force Awakens in order (so, excluding Rogue One and The Last Jedi), starting at 2:30 a.m. and going until 11 p.m. on May 4. Of course you can always splurge on all the DVDs, Blu-rays, or digital copies and set up shop at home for the better part of 20 hours across nine movies.

2. COOK UP SOME STAR WARS RECIPES.

If you're going to sit through an all-day Star Wars binge, you won't be able to do it on an empty stomach. Prepare for your May the Fourth marathon with some themed recipes, like these Darth Maul waffles (which you can wash down with some blue milk), Jabbacado toast, porg puffs, or Imperial nachos.

3. EXPLORE YOUR CRAFTY SIDE.

If you need to do something with your hands instead of just feeding yourself while binging movies, there are more than enough crafty projects to either spruce up your living room with some homemade Skywalker décor or make a gift for that Star Wars superfan in your life.

You can make a unique costume modeled on your favorite character, create your own bookmark, try your hand at some TIE Fighter art, paint a Jawa picture frame with the kids, or make a personalized gift for Mother's and Father's Day. There's really no limit to what you can do—and if you run out of ideas, there are plenty of online resources and books to help stimulate your creative side.

4. ADD A LEGO Y-WING TO YOUR COLLECTION.

Star Wars Day is about more than just getting deals on pre-existing merchandise—it's also about the debut of brand new collectibles that you've never been able to get your hands on. And the biggest one coming out this May 4 is LEGO's new Ultimate Collector Series Y-WING.

Measuring in at two feet long and containing an impressive 1967 pieces, this massive starfighter is just like the one fans saw make the assault on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope. The set also comes with a Gold Leader minifigure (complete with blaster) and an R2-BHD droid, because everyone knows any starfighter worth its salt needs an astromech aboard. If you want one for yourself, the UCS Y-Wing will set you back $199.

5. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY, MUSEUM, AND ZOO.

There's a good chance that a local institution in your community is jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon with activities aimed at fans of any age.

If you're in New York City on Star Wars Day, the public library system will have events at branches throughout the city on May 4—just call ahead for information and availability. Various zoos, including the Jacksonville Zoo in Florida, the El Paso Zoo in Texas, and Oklahoma's OKC Zoo will all have themed events, such as character meet and greets, costume contests, or games and activities for kids. And the Boston Children's Museum will have activities—including Star Wars yoga—from May 4 through Sunday May 6.

These are far from the only local events you can partake in—cities all over the world are looking to take advantage of May 4 to bring people together for special activities to enjoy. Do a little digging and see what your local parks, museums, malls, and zoos are doing to celebrate all things Star Wars.

6. ENJOY STAR WARS NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK.

Star Wars Day at an MLB ballpark.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

If you're at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, or SunTrust ballpark in Atlanta on May 4, you can snag special bobbleheads of one of the team's standout players in Star Wars garb. Then on May 5 (sometimes known as "Revenge of the Fifth"), the Washington Nationals are holding their own celebration, complete with photo ops with your favorite characters and themed food and drink specials.

But the force can be with you even if it isn't the fourth. The Baltimore Orioles are holding a Star Wars Night on May 11, complete with a Darren "O'Day-Wan" Kenobi bobblehead, followed by the New York Mets on May 19, where the first 25,000 fans will get a special Mr. Met Star Wars bobblehead. There are even more Star Wars-themed nights throughout the season all around the league, all the way into August and September.

7. GET A FREE STAR WARS COMIC BOOK.

Han Solo frozen in carbonite
iStock

It just so happens that Star Wars Day and Free Comic Book Day are back-to-back this year, so when you head down to your local comic shop on May 5 to score your haul of freebies, be sure to pick up the special issue of Star Wars Adventures, put out by publisher IDW.

While Marvel has the license to publish Star Wars comics, IDW is handling the Adventures book, which is aimed at younger readers (though adult fans will still enjoy them). The story in this issue—which will be continued in Star Wars Adventures #10 and #11—will focus on a young Han Solo and Chewbacca, in preparation for the May 25 release of Solo: A Star Wars Story.

8. LEGOLAND STAR WARS DAYS.

LEGO Darth Vader sculpture at LEGOLAND.
Kevin Baird, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Sure it's the day after the official Star Wars Day, but if you're in LEGOLAND in Florida on May 5-6, or either of the two weekends after, you can experience LEGO's ode to the blockbuster movie franchise. For the park's LEGO Star Wars Days event, you'll be able to take part in building activities, cosplay (with a chance to win prizes), and see the latest addition to MINILAND with a Force Awakens display. This display is made up of thousands of LEGO bricks and will recreate memorable moments from the movie.

9. SALES! SALES! SALES!

Star Wars action figures.
iStock

You don't even have to leave your computer to enjoy May the Fourth. There are plenty of retailers that are giving out deep discounts on Star Wars merchandise like action figures, movies, clothing, home décor, kitchen accessories, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. The Star Wars website has a direct hub for the biggest sales, and then there's the highly anticipated Think Geek Star Wars Day sale, which is usually among the best.

10. ENJOY THE MUSIC.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir performing the Star Wars scores.
Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a day off to watch the Star Wars movies, make crafts, and take advantage of sales. If you're stuck at work on May the Fourth, though, you can still celebrate the music of Star Wars while you're at your computer or during your commute. Just pop some headphones in and stream one (or all) of John Williams's memorable scores from the saga. They're all easy to find on the major music services, and surely listening to the Cantina Band song in the afternoon will get you pumped for happy hour.

New Jersey's Anthony Bourdain Food Trail Has Opened

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Before Anthony Bourdain was a world-famous chef, author, or food and travel documentarian, he was just another kid growing up in New Jersey. Earlier this year, Food & Wine reported that Bourdain's home state would honor the late television personality with a food trail tracing his favorite restaurants. And that trail is now open.

Bourdain was born in New York City in 1956, and spent most of childhood living in Leonia, New Jersey. He often revisited the Garden State in his books and television shows, highlighting the state's classic diners and delis and the seafood shacks of the Jersey shore.

Immediately following Bourdain's tragic death on June 8, 2018, New Jersey assemblyman Paul Moriarty proposed an official food trail featuring some of his favorite eateries. The trail draws from the New Jersey episode from season 5 of the CNN series Parts Unknown. In it, Bourdain traveled to several towns throughout the state, including Camden, Atlantic City, and Asbury Park, and sampled fare like cheesesteaks, salt water taffy, oysters, and deep-fried hot dogs.

The food trail was approved following a unanimous vote in January, and the trail was officially inaugurated last week. Among the stops included on the trail:

  1. Frank's Deli // Asbury Park
  1. Knife and Fork Inn // Atlantic City
  1. Dock's Oyster House // Atlantic City
  1. Tony's Baltimore Grill // Atlantic City
  1. James' Salt Water Taffy // Atlantic City
  1. Lucille's Country Cooking // Barnegat
  1. Tony & Ruth Steaks // Camden
  1. Donkey's Place // Camden
  2. Hiram's Roadstand // Fort Lee

10 Sweet Facts About Napoleon Dynamite

© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox
© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

ChapStick, llamas, and tater tots are just a few things that appear in Napoleon Dynamite, a cult film shot for a mere $400,000 that went on to gross $44.5 million. In 2002, Brigham Young University film student Jared Hess filmed a black-and-white short, Peluca, with his classmate Jon Heder. The film got accepted into the Slamdance Film Festival, which gave Hess the courage to adapt it into a feature. Hess used his real-life upbringing in Preston, Idaho—he had six brothers and his mom owned llamas—to form the basis of the movie, about a nerdy teenager named Napoleon (Heder) who encourages his friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) to run for class president.

In 2004, the indie film screened at Sundance, and was quickly purchased by Fox Searchlight and Paramount, then released less than six months later. Today, the film remains so popular that in 2016 Pedro and Napoleon reunited for a cheesy tots Burger King commercial. To celebrated the film's 15th anniversary, here are some facts about the ever-quotable comedy.

1. Deb is based on Jerusha Hess.

Jared Hess’s wife Jerusha co-wrote the film and based Deb on her own life. “Her mom made her a dress when she was going to a middle school dance and she said, ‘I hadn’t really developed yet, so my mom overcompensated and made some very large, fluffy shoulders,’” Jared told Rolling Stone. “Some guy dancing with her patted the sleeves and actually said, ‘I like your sleeves … they’re real big.'"

Tina Majorino, who played the fictional Deb, hadn’t done a comedy before, because people thought of her as a dramatic actress. "The fact that Jared would even let me come in and read really appealed to me," she told Rolling Stone. "Even if I didn’t get the role, I just wanted to see what it was like to audition for a comedy, as I’d never done it before."

2. Napoleon's famous dance scene was the result of having extra film stock.

At the end of shooting Peluca, Hess had a minute of film stock left and knew Heder liked to dance. Heder had on moon boots—something Hess used to wear—so they traveled to the end of a dirt road. They turned on the car radio and Jamiroquai’s “Canned Heat” was playing. “I just told him to start dancing and realized: This is how we’ve got to end the film,” Hess told Rolling Stone. “You don’t anticipate those kinds of things. They’re just part of the creative process.”

Heder told HuffPost he found inspiration in Michael Jackson and dancing in front of a mirror, for the end-of-the-movie skit. But when it came time to film the dance for the feature, Heder felt "pressure" to deliver. “I was like, ‘Oh, crap!’ This isn’t just a silly little scene,” he told PDX Monthly. “This is the moment where everything comes, and he’s making the sacrifice for his friend. That’s the whole theme of the movie. Everything leads up to this. Napoleon’s been this loser. This has to be the moment where he lands a victory.” Instead of hiring a choreographer, the filmmakers told him to “just figure it out.” They filmed the scene three times with three different songs, including Jamiroquai’s “Little L” and “Canned Heat.”

3. Napoleon Dynamitefans still flock to Preston, Idaho to tour the movie's locations.

In a 2016 interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, The Preston Citizen’s circulation manager, Rhonda Gregerson, said “every summer at least 50 groups of fans walk into the office wanting to know more about the film.” She said people come from all over the world to see Preston High School, Pedro’s house, and other filming locations as a layover before heading to Yellowstone National Park. “If you talk to a lot of people in Preston, you’ll find a lot of people who have become a bit sick of it,” Gregerson said. “I still think it’s great that there’s still so much interest in the town this long after the movie.”

Besides the filming locations, the town used to host a Napoleon Dynamite festival. In 2005, the fest drew about 6000 people and featured a tater tot eating contest, a moon boot dancing contest, boondoggle keychains for sale, and a tetherball tournament. The fest was last held in 2008.

4. Idaho adopted a resolution commending the filmmakers.

'Napoleon Dynamite' filmmakers Jerusha and Jared Hess
Jerusha and Jared Hess
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

In 2005, the Idaho legislature wrote a resolution praising Jared and Jerusha Hess and the city of Preston. HCR029 appreciates the use of tater tots for “promoting Idaho’s most famous export.” It extols bicycling and skateboarding to promote “better air quality,” and it says Kip and LaFawnduh’s relationship “is a tribute to e-commerce and Idaho’s technology-driven industry.” The resolution goes on to say those who “vote Nay on this concurrent resolution are Freakin’ Idiots.” Napoleon would be proud.

5. Napoleon was a different kind of nerd.

Sure, he was awkward, but Napoleon wasn’t as intelligent as other film nerds. “He’s not a genius,” Heder told HuffPost. “Maybe he’s getting good grades, but he’s not excelling; he’s just socially awkward. He doesn’t know how much of an outcast he is, and that’s what gives him that confidence. He’s trying to be cool sometimes, but mostly he just goes for it and does it.”

6. The title sequence featured several different sets of hands..

Eight months before the theatrical release, Fox Searchlight had Hess film a title sequence that made it clear that the film took place in 2004, not in the ’80s or ’90s. Napoleon’s student ID reveals the events occur during the 2004-2005 school year. Heder’s hands move the objects in and out of the frame, but Fox didn’t like his hangnails. “They flew out a hand model a couple weeks later, who had great hands, but was five or six shades darker than Jon Heder,” Hess told Art of the Title. “If you look, there are like three different dudes’ hands—our producer’s are in there, too.”

7. Napoleon Dynamite messed up Netflix's algorithms.

Beginning in 2006, Cinematch—Netflix’s recommendation algorithm software—held a contest called The Netflix Prize. Anyone who could make Cinematch’s predictions at least 10 percent more accurate would win $1 million. Computer scientist Len Bertoni had trouble predicting whether people would like Napoleon Dynamite. Bertoni told The New York Times the film is “polarizing,” and the Netflix ratings are either one or five stars. If he could accurately predict whether people liked the movie, Bertoni said, then he’d come much closer to winning the prize. That didn’t happen for him.

The contest finally ended in 2009 when Netflix awarded the grand prize to BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos, who developed a 10.06 percent improvement over Cinematch’s score.

8. Napoleon accidentally got a bad perm.


© 2004 Twentieth Century Fox

Heder got his hair permed the night before shooting began—but something went wrong. Heder called Jared and said, “‘Yeah, I got the perm but it’s a little bit different than it was before,’” Hess told Rolling Stone. “He showed up the night before shooting and he looked like Shirley Temple! The curls were huge!” They didn’t have much time to fix the goof, so Hess enlisted Jerusha and her cousin to re-perm it. It worked, but Jon wasn’t allowed to wash his hair for the next three weeks. “So he had this stinky ‘do in the Idaho heat for three weeks,” Jared said. “We were shooting near dairy farms and there were tons of flies; they were all flying in and out of his hair.”

9. LaFawnduh's real-life family starred in the film.

Shondrella Avery played LaFawnduh, the African American girlfriend of Kip, Napoleon’s older brother (played by Aaron Ruell). Before filming, Hess phoned Avery and said, “‘You remember that there were no black people in Preston, Idaho, right? Do you think your family might want to be in the movie?’ And that’s how it happened,” Avery told Los Angeles Weekly. Her actual family shows up at the end when LaFawnduh and Kip get married.

10. A short-lived animated series acted as a sequel.

In 2012, Fox aired six episodes of Napoleon Dynamite the animated series before they canceled it. All of the original actors returned to supply voices to their characters. The only difference between the film and the series is Kip is not married. Heder told Rolling Stone the episodes are as close to a sequel as fans will get. “If you sit down and watch those back to back, you’ve got yourself a sequel,” he said. “Because you’ve got all the same characters and all the same actors.”

This story has been updated for 2019.

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