While international Star Wars has been around since the late 1970s when the Conservative party ran an ad in The London Evening News to commemorate the day Margaret Thatcher took up office as the UK Prime Minister - May 4th, 1979 - the modern "holiday" and marketing exercise May The 4th Be With You is much more recent than that, and the retailing juggernaut has been gaining speed every year.
Unique in the licensed world of Star Wars is LEGO who have the enviable position of being a license holder and a retailer at the same time, and over the years this has given them great opportunities to make the best of May The 4th Be With You.
And this year was no exception and so we sent our man Nick Napoli with family to his local LEGO Brand Store document the festivities.
The expected high-end UCS set - announced a month before - was made available, along with a commemorative blueprint that was (supposedly) only available to those who held the limited edition black VIP card that was issued to those who bought 75192 UCS Millennium Falcon in the early bird purchase period.
For those collectors and families with more restrained budgets there were some great incentives on hand. And the best one was a free make & take porg that was exclusively available through LEGO Brand Stores in the US.
The best thing about the in-store LEGO build is that the design team makes sure that each mini model contains no special bricks and can be build at home using the bricks you already have. For those of you interested in constructing your own the parts list and instructions are below.
Another free activity included in the May The 4th Be With You celebrations was the Kessel Run Adventure. Over the last few months LEGO Store Calendars had listed this interactive childrens event but held back on the details to build anticipation. What it amounted to was an activity that had participants build small space ships out of a selection of pieces and push them down a card shuttleboard.
Without a doubt the biggest draw of the weekend was the opportunity to add a miniature brick-built BB-8 to ones collection. This cheeky chappy came free (while stocks lasted) with a purchase of $75 or more of LEGO Star Wars products. This was the only freely available offer that was available both in LEGO Brand Stores and through the shop@home website and shouldn't be confused with the larger 75187 BB-8 that was part of initial release of The Last Jedi sets.
If you have enjoyed building and playing with this set feel free to add your thoughts to our 40288 BB-8 thread in the LEGO discussions forums.
In the "also ran" section of this round up is the porg stamp that was being added to LEGO Store Passports (see TheBrickFan.com for more info) as well as a curious MOC Boba Fett helmet that was being sold as an exclusive in one US brand store.
And that's a wrap on our LEGO May The 4th Be With You coverage - until next year!
I'd like to extend a special thanks to Nick Napoli and his children, as well as my own Son of LEGOscum, for braving the hordes to make this review as photo heavy as possible.