In honor of May the 4th, aka Star Wars Day, Main Street Plant City is theming this week’s Last Friday in Downtown as a celebration to the beloved adventures in a galaxy far, far away.
Whether you’re a padawan in training or have dreamed of belonging to the Nightsisters on Dathomir, Plant City is once again offering a unique Star Wars event for the masses.
Plant City Main Street hosts Last Friday in Downtown every month and its mission in 2021 is to theme each event. This month, in honor of May the 4th being right around the corner, it’s not surprise that droids and Jedi alike are being welcomed back to downtown. The annual event blossoms as more businesses sign up to be a part of the galaxy-renowned spectacle.
“The event has been growing each month and doing these pop-themed events like Star Wars and Harry Potter really attract visitors from all over the state,” Jerilyn Rumbarger, executive director of Plant City Main Street, said. “Our more original ideas that we have on other months really celebrate the local community as well, so it’s kind of been a great mix as we have expanded and really grown what these events can do for downtown.”
Any who wish to attend are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite Star Wars costumes. In prior years, guests have come as everyone from Darth Maul to Ahsoka Tano. Tiny droids have walked hand-in-hand with “Han” and “Leia” toward The Kandy Shoppe and “Captain Rex” has patiently waited to get a drink at Krazy Kup before marching toward the park to meet up with “Skyguy” himself.
While Mos Eisley’s Cantina is still a galaxy away and Oga has yet to build a traveling food barge, there will be plenty of opportunities for hungry palates to get their fill at Friday’s event. A variety of food trucks will be on site, including The Bacon Boss Food Truck and The Melt Machine Gourmet Grilled Cheese Food Truck. Head over to the event’s link on the Plant City Main Street Facebook page to get a full list.
Some of the most legendary adventurers in the Star Wars universe have volunteered to swing by Plant City and take photos with local fans. More than a dozen members of the 501st Legion will be on site to snap photos and interact with the community. A special car wrapped like a beloved Star Wars ship will be parked downtown as well. Many local businesses are going all-out and will create Star Wars-themed items for the event, including items like light and dark side teas, themed drinks, Star Wars soaps, LEGO Star Wars builds and more. Get there early to make sure the local shops don’t run out of the unique goodies they’ve created or brought in for the special event.
“It’s definitely through the merchant partnership that we’ve joined forces and been able to have so many successful events like this one in downtown,” Rumbarger said. “Ultimately Main Street is an economic driver for downtown, but what keeps people downtown is our merchants. It makes sense to partner up. And I think these partnerships have really opened the door to what we are able to offer to the community.”
Every month, the number of participating business for Last Friday in Downtown continues to grow and this month is no exception. Now there are businesses on both sides of McCall Park, reaching through nearly every corner of downtown, participating. Be willing to stretch your limbs and explore, and you will be shocked at the unique items you can discover.
For many, the ability to have a May 4th celebration a few days early comes as relief. While most Star Wars fans are typically ecstatic to hit the streets in their best cosplay apparel, this year adds a new temptation that will cause many to stay home. Disney+ is dropping “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” on May 4 in celebration of Star Wars Day. The new show will follow the beloved and quirky elite force of experimental clones that were introduced in “The Clone Wars.” Plant City Main Street is offering a way to get the best of both worlds by bringing the fun a few days early.
However, Friday’s party is just the kickoff of festive celebrations downtown. Participating merchants will continue the Star Wars-themed festivities on Saturday and again on Tuesday. Keep an eye on individual businesses’ social media pages to discover which deals and celebratory offerings they plan to have over the course of the next several days.
If you go
Last Friday in Downtown: Star Wars
When: 5 to 9 p.m. April 30
Where: McCall Park, 100 N. Collins St.
Cost: Free to attend.
For more information: Visit Plant City Main Street’s Facebook page