‘Star Wars' Day at Imperial Sand Dunes

If you dig "Return of the Jedi," make a date to visit this gorgeous corner of California.

STAR WARS DAY, as in "May the fourth be with you," as in May the fourth, as in May 4, is regularly observed around the planet when the fifth month of the year arrives. And with Forceful reason, for on any May 4 a fan is bound to find screenings and costume-wearing opportunities and book signings and more, depending upon how the fan's town chooses to honor the cosmic occasion. But there are other special events that fall under the "Star Wars Day" banner, and one happens at a place that is iconic in the lore of the series: Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area. Yes, these are the smooth 'n sandy hills found west of Yuma, on the California side of the border, and, for sure, they hold a lot of cred with those with recreationalists who like to go for a sand-swirling spin in their buggy or bike. But if you know your "Return of the Jedi," then you know this dunes-y destination, through and through, as pivotal scenes were filmed around the region back in 1982. To pay homage to that fact, and to gather some fans together for an afternoon of fun, 

IMPERIAL SAND DUNES RECREATION AREA... is hosting "Discover the Desert—Star Wars Day" on Saturday, Feb. 3. The 1 to 4 p.m. gathering will include "(a)ctivities, characters from your favorite Star Wars movies, and exhibits..." as well as as screening of "Stargate" when the sun dips down for the night. The cost? It's free, and the on-site shuttles that will whisk fans to where filming has happened will be free, too. Much attention will also be given to the nature of the region as well as area's recreational offerings during the event. Do note that Imperial Sand Dunes is tucked in the southeastern corner of the Golden State, so plan your getaway accordingly, perhaps with an overnight in Yuma or another nearby spot. Have you returned to "Return of the Jedi" lately? You won't need a spaceship to visit the arid landscape seen in the film; you'll just need to make your way to Imperial Sand Dunes on the first Saturday in February.

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