Thursday is Star Wars Day. There is a distinct movement in the Force to spend it in costume or matching wits with other Star Wars nerds in trivia or a worst-Jedi-joke competition.
What started as an inside joke among Star Wars fans, greeting each other with, "May the Fourth be with you," has turned into a full-fledged Star Wars holiday. Not that we need an excuse to buy collectibles or have parties, but it's a good one. And since May 4 falls on a Thursday, the Cantina will be open this weekend as well for both adults and kids.
Marci Richter, a St. Petersburg claims examiner by day, Boba Fett bounty hunter at many a party, is organizing two parties this week with her partner Chris Spires, a software developer who is currently growing his hair shaggy for his Han Solo costume.
They had been doing this for six years when they realized no one in the bay area was observing this special holiday. They draw at least 100 people to their annual parties at local clubs, which they do for the love of it.
"We're just big old Star Wars nerds," Richter said. This year they are throwing an adults-only party at the C. 1949 Bar and Beer Garden in Tampa with a Star Wars burlesque show by Vita DeVoid, who combines cosplay with strip tease, though no nudity. There's also a costume contest, movies and a Jedi joke contest.
The joke contest is modeled on a viral video of NFL players telling each other really bad jokes. First one to laugh loses. So keep a poker face when you hear, "Why did Anakin Skywalker cross the road?" Answer: To get to the Dark Side.
A Star Wars-inspired art show starting Thursday at C. 1949 runs for two weeks. Sunday brings a family party in the beer garden with kids and pets dressed up in their Star Wars finery.
"Last year there was a little girl dressed up as Rey and that was so adorable," Richter said. "And the Princess Leia costumes are great, especially when worn by the guys."
The Castle nightclub in Ybor is also planning Star Wars parties this week, as are several libraries and the Glazer Children's Museum.
Here's your coordinates to lock in for May the Fourth and beyond.
May the Fourth Be With You: There will be two parties this week at C. 1949 Bar and Beer Garden, 6905 N Orleans Ave., Tampa, each with free entry. The adults-only party with Star Wars burlesque, a costume contest and a Jedi joke contest starts at 7 p. m. Thursday. From 2-6 p.m. Sunday, bring the family and pets for costume contests, face and body painting, Star Wars coloring, a kids' pinata and drink specials.
May the Fourth Be With You at the Library: The Hillsborough County library system has multiple parties planned for Thursday. At 10:30 a.m. at the Thonotosassa Branch Library, 10715 Main St., friends of the library will make, play, show and tell stories from a galaxy far, far away. The same program for children will also be at the SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way in Ruskin, at 10:30 a.m. The New Tampa Regional Library, 10001 Cross Creek Blvd., will have a Star Wars Painting Class at 6 p.m. With step-by-step instructions, participants will complete their own BB-8 masterpiece. All supplies provided. All ages.
Movies and beer: At Brew Bus Brewing, 4101 N Florida Ave., Tampa, watch select Star Wars films on a big screen. Wear your best Star Wars gear, and your first beer is free. Special prizes for the best costumes. 4-10 p.m. Thursday.
Revenge of the Fifth: The John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N Ashley Drive, Tampa, is holding its party on Friday for Revenge of the Fifth, diving into the world of origami to create paper sculptures for the Empire. For all ages starting at 4 p.m.
Glazer Children's Museum: Thursday though Saturday, the hands-on children's museum has a slate of Star Wars activities called "A Galaxy Far, Far Away." On Saturday, admission is $5 in honor of Riverfest, and the 501st Legion's costumed characters will be present for photos. Regular admission Thursday and Friday is $15, $12.50 military/seniors, $9.50 children. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. (813) 443-3861.
Castle Star Wars Party: There will be a costume contest, a Chewbacca Howl-off, Wompa Stompa with music by the Alien Cantina Band, blue milk and a landing party for Trekkies. 18 and older. 10:30 p.m. Saturday. The Castle, 2004 N 16th St., Tampa. $7-$9. (813) 247-7547.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at email@example.com. Follow @SharonKWn.