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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
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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.

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entertainment
12 Very Special Facts About Punky Brewster
Shout! Factory
Shout! Factory

Sitcoms about kids abandoned by their parents and left to fend for themselves are few and far between. Fortunately, Punky Brewster, which ran from 1984 to 1988, was able to fill that need. Starring Soleil Moon Frye as the aggressively optimistic Punky and George Gaynes as her adoptive father, Henry, the show was famous for Punky’s distinctive fashion palette and its obsession with Very Special Episodes. (In “Urban Fear,” Punky learns a serial killer is stalking her neighborhood; in another, Punky learns a valuable lesson about peer pressure and drug use.)

On the 30th anniversary of the series' finale, check out these 12 facts on alternative casting, a failed spinoff, and the real origin of the infamous refrigerator episode.

1. PUNKY IS A REAL PERSON.

Though she probably didn’t dress like a rainbow vomited on her. In the mid-1980s, the Federal Communications Commission insisted that networks use the 7 and 7:30 p.m. slots on Sunday for news or children’s programming. Instead of competing against CBS’ 60 Minutes with more topical content, NBC President Brandon Tartikoff decided to counter-program with a show about a spunky little girl. He wanted to name her after a teacher's daughter he knew in prep school, Peyton “Punky” Brewster: Peyton gave NBC lawyers her approval. As reported by Mental Floss's own Stacy Conradt, the "real" Punky even appeared in a later episode as a teacher.   

2. VICKI THE ROBOT AUDITIONED FOR THE ROLE.

When NBC’s casting call went out for Punky, more than 3000 adorable, elfin actors campaigned for the role. Among them was Tiffany Brissette, who later appeared as the monotone Vicki in the kid-robot series Small Wonder; Melissa Joan Hart (Clarissa Explains It All) was also a contender. But producers knew the relatives of Soleil Moon Frye, a 7-year-old with three TV movies under her tiny belt, and decided she had sufficient Punky Power.

3. HERMAN MUNSTER WAS UP FOR THE HENRY PART.

Before actor George Gaynes (Police Academy, Tootsie) was awarded the role of Punky’s adoptive father, Henry, producers were fielding another possibility: Fred Gwynne, best known as Herman Munster on The Munsters. Gwynne was said to be eager to distance himself from Munster and agreed to audition with Frye. But when the actress asked if he was Herman Munster, a disappointed Gwynne slinked out.   

4. THE SHOW WAS KIND OF GRIM.

When Tartikoff had the idea for a kid show, he passed it along to writer David Duclon, a producer on the network’s hit series Silver Spoons. Duclon told TV Guide in 1986 that he researched topical issues and found an alarming number of girls were victims of abandonment. It was decided Punky’s parents would be deadbeats; future episodes threatened to have her locked away in an orphanage, helping Henry cope with a bleeding ulcer, and addressing his sleeping pill addiction—unless, of course, she was busy tending to her dog, Brandon, who was hit by a car.

5. COLUMBIA PICTURES SUED SOLEIL MOON FRYE FOR $80 MILLION.

Being precocious apparently isn’t enough to keep a battalion of lawyers from trying to devour you. According to the Associated Press, Columbia Pictures (which took over production of the show when it went into syndication for its third season) sued Soleil Moon Frye for $80 million in 1986. The reason? Frye failed to report to work. Her attorney, Dennis Ardi, asserted Frye was under no legal obligation to perform once the series left NBC. Since the show ran for two more years, it's safe to say things were worked out and no Punky punitive damages were assessed.

6. THE INFAMOUS FRIDGE EPISODE WAS THOUGHT UP BY A KID.


NBC

To help stir up publicity for the series, NBC ran a contest in 1985 that solicited story ideas from kids. The winner was Jeremy Reams, who submitted a premise that involved Punky having to perform CPR on her friend, Cherie, who had gotten trapped inside an abandoned refrigerator. While this was an actual danger for older appliances with latches that couldn’t be opened from the inside, by 1956 the government mandated magnetic handles. In New York State, it was also illegal to discard fridges without removing the door.

7. SOME EPISODES WERE ONLY 15 MINUTES LONG. (THANKS, KNIGHT RIDER.)

While Punky usually occupied the normal 30-minute sitcom slot, the fall arrival of football on NBC prompted some format changes. Because games airing in the afternoon often run late, NBC decided to avoid joining a program in progress by scheduling 15-minute mini-Punky episodes to follow NFL broadcasts: It also guaranteed their hit Knight Rider would start on time at 8 p.m. Three episodes were structured to be “broken" in half, making for six truncated installments. It was the first time a major network had aired a 15-minute show since news programs in the 1960s.  

8. T.K. CARTER (A.K.A. “MIKE FULTON”) WAS ARRESTED FOR STEALING A CAR.

Fans may remember actor Thomas Kent Carter as Punky's “cool” teacher Mike Fulton. According to the Associated Press, Carter behaved in a very uncool manner when he approached a woman in December of 1991 and demanded her car. She refused; he allegedly punched her in the stomach before speeding away. Carter was arrested after a high-speed chase and having taken out two highway dividers. He was released on $10,000 bail.

9. PUNKY RETURNED AS A WEB COMIC.

Punky Power could not be suffocated for long: in 2014, publisher Lion Forge obtained the license to a number of 1980s series (Miami Vice, Airwolf) and began churning out a line of digital comics. The prequel sees Punky homeless in Chicago after being abandoned by her mother, “sleeping in empty apartments and mattress stores.” Eight issues have been released.   

10. IT ADDRESSED THE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION.

When the space shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986—killing all seven people on board—it left a lot of people shaken. The producers of Punky Brewster quickly packaged an episode with the help of psychologists that depicted Punky watching the telecast with her classmates and then struggling to cope with her feelings over the tragedy. Buzz Aldrin appeared in the episode as himself.    

11. THERE WAS A SPINOFF ABOUT AN ORPHANAGE.

During Punky’s first season, NBC considered a spinoff, Fenster Hall, about an orphanage full of wayward kids. T.K. Carter was set to reprise his role as Mike Fulton; producers also invited a pre-Saturday Night Live Dana Carvey to join the cast. (He declined.) The series was considered for a fall 1985 premiere but never made it to air.

12. IN 2009, FRYE DRESSED AS PUNKY FOR HER TWITTER FOLLOWERS.

After hitting a milestone 1 million followers on her Twitter account in 2009, Frye celebrated by dressing in her signature Punky gear. The then-33-year-old filmed a five-minute video thanking her fans and pointed out that Punky’s many bandanas were “gangster before there was gangster.”

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Food
How to Make Miles Davis’s Famous Chili Recipe
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Miles Davis, who was born on May 26, 1926, was one of the most important and influential musicians of the 20th century, and changed the course of jazz music more times in his life than some people change their sheets. He was also pretty handy in the kitchen.

In his autobiography, Miles, Davis wrote that in the early 1960s, “I had gotten into cooking. I just loved food and hated going out to restaurants all the time, so I taught myself how to cook by reading books and practicing, just like you do on an instrument. I could cook most of the great French dishes—because I really liked French cooking—and all the black American dishes. But my favorite was a chili dish I called Miles's South Side Chicago Chili Mack. I served it with spaghetti, grated cheese, and oyster crackers."

Davis didn’t divulge what was in the dish or how to make it, but in 2007, Best Life magazine got the recipe from his first wife, Frances, who Davis said made it better than he did.

MILES'S SOUTH SIDE CHICAGO CHILIK MACK (SERVES 6)

1/4 lb. suet (beef fat)
1 large onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground veal
1/2 lb. ground pork
salt and pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin seed
2 cans kidney beans, drained
1 can beef consommé
1 drop red wine vinegar
3 lb. spaghetti
parmesan cheese
oyster crackers
Heineken beer

1. Melt suet in large heavy pot until liquid fat is about an inch high. Remove solid pieces of suet from pot and discard.
2. In same pot, sauté onion.
3. Combine meats in bowl; season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin.
4. In another bowl, season kidney beans with salt and pepper.
5. Add meat to onions; sauté until brown.
6. Add kidney beans, consommé, and vinegar; simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
7. Add more seasonings to taste, if desired.
8. Cook spaghetti according to package directions, and then divide among six plates.
9. Spoon meat mixture over each plate of spaghetti.
10. Top with Parmesan and serve oyster crackers on the side.
11. Open a Heineken.

John Szwed’s biography of Davis, So What, mentions another chili that the trumpeter’s father taught him how to make. The book includes the ingredients, but no instructions, save for serving it over pasta. Like a jazz musician, you’ll have to improvise. 

bacon grease
3 large cloves of garlic
1 green, 1 red pepper
2 pounds ground lean chuck
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 jar of mustard
1/2 shot glass of vinegar
2 teaspoons of chili powder
dashes of salt and pepper
pinto or kidney beans
1 can of tomatoes
1 can of beef broth

serve over linguine

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