(Published April 30, 2019
By Jesse Wright, Staff Writer
For millions around the world, May the fourth isn’t just a date on the calendar. It’s a day to celebrate one of the most beloved films of all time — Star Wars.
May the fourth plays on the phrase “may the force (be with you),” the popular farewell among the film’s rebels. In this world, May the fourth is an international day to celebrate Star Wars and all things Jedi.
And that goes for downtown Chicago, too.
Chicago Jedi, one of the largest fan groups in the city, will demonstrate lightsaber fight techniques at 7 p.m. May 4 on the observation deck at 360 Chicago, 875 N Michigan Ave. Entry will be free for anyone who wants to see the Jedi battle.
Ross Greenberg, the second in command at Chicago Jedi, said everyone is welcome to stop by and take pictures or even participate in the fun.
“We usually do a freeze mob or a force battle,” he explained.
In a freeze mob, participants pose in a fighting positions. Greenberg said this is safer than public battle recreations.
“We don’t want people to get whacked and get hurt so we came up with the idea that we do what’s called a freeze mob,” he said. “What we do is we have everyone get together and play some music and when you hear the musical cue, everyone freezes in place.”
The group has done this at Millennium Park near Cloud Gate, but this year 360 Chicago offered their space to the group.
Greenberg said he hopes kids and families come, because everyone is welcome.
“The event is BYOL, bring your own lightsaber,” he said.
Greenberg said the event is a good introduction to the group, if residents want to join.
“If people come to one of our events to become an active member, they have to show up to six or seven meetings, not in a row but just to show they’re serious, then after that, they’re a member or a Padawan,” Greenberg said.
Group founder and leader Gabriel Calderon said they offer a unique community for “Star Wars”-obsessed fans.
“On the surface, people gain an immediate sense of community—connecting with others who have a shared interest in all things Star Wars,” Calderon said. “As you get to know one another, you realize how deep and varied the life of each member really is, people you may not have met in traditional settings. We have writers, doctors, teachers, gamers, professionals, and so on.”
Greenberg said members can take Jedi fighting courses.
“I am a 40-year veteran of martial arts and I’m a martial arts master and a six-degree black belt,” he said.