PANAMA CITY — Grab your lightsaber! Star Wars Day is approaching and downtown Panama City is gearing up for an evening filled with Star Wars fans.
Join the galactic forces in downtown Panama City as local businesses collaborate to celebrate Star Wars Day from 5-8 p.m. on May 4. The main event takes place at the parking lot of the Center for the Arts, 19 E. Fourth St., and creates a galactic environment. of all things Star Wars with fun and entertainment for the whole family.
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The Star Wars Day celebration took shape last year in historic downtown when History Class Brewing Co. and Aaron Rich Marketing teamed up to create a fun and quirky night for Star Wars fans.
“We rushed to throw a small event last year, and it ended up being much bigger than expected with hundreds of people in attendance,” said Eric Darnell, social media coordinator for History Class Brewing. “It was a very big success, so we started planning at the beginning of this year, and everything is falling into place.”
The second downtown event invites all attendees to experience the dark side of the attraction with popular Star Wars characters including Jedi Knights, Rebel Alliance members and young Padawans. The organizers encourage everyone to come dressed as their favorite Star Wars character.
In addition to this year’s event, a choreographed Jedi vs. Sith battle and a charity raffle for Vader’s 501st Legion characters with themed prizes and gift certificates to local businesses. All proceeds from the event will benefit the 501st Legion – a volunteer organization that brings together costumed enthusiasts to promote interest in Star Wars movies, according to the legion’s website.
Plus, guests can enjoy an immersive Star Wars soundscape, character scavenger hunt, Jedi training course, raffles for prizes, and other entertainment. Star Wars characters will be hidden in 14 downtown businesses for participants to find them all and win prizes.
The Arts Center made an announcement on Facebook on April 19, kicking off this year’s Star Wars Day celebration with a promotional video. It received engagement from hundreds of users with 76 likes and 135 shares expressing interest in participating. Several users in the comments section of the video tagged their friends and family to spread the word.
Darnell said he hopes Star Wars Day continues to grow each year in downtown Panama City. He plans to add a second location that splits characters between Star Wars villains and heroes, allowing the community to explore both sides.
“The big goal is to bring people together,” he said. “Since Hurricane Michael, bringing the community back has been a huge mission of History Class Brewing Company, and that’s what we’re doing.”
The Star Wars vacation was formed from the famous “May the force be with you” starting line from the first Star Wars movie. He is the originator of the “May the Fourth be with you” pun, commemorating the nationwide Star Wars Day celebration.
In partnership with the organizers, the event is coordinated and sponsored by Panama City Quality of Life, Center for the Arts, Bay Arts Alliance, Destination Panama City and the Science and Discovery Center of Northwest Florida.