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Best Ways To Celebrate National Star Wars Day In The Bay Area

(credit: Shirlaine Forrest/Getty Images)

What are you doing to celebrate Star Wars Day on May the Fourth? To get in the mood, follow our intrepid droid-hero R2-D2 (pictured below) in his search for love in San Francisco and Berkeley. "Artoo in Love," is an adorable YouTube film short by Evan Atherton, which debuted at the 2015 Sonoma International Film Festival. We talked to writer/director/producer Atherton, who is also an engineer at Autodesk, which fans know as the maker of the Maya animation platform used by Lucasfilm to create "Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

(credit: Evan Atherton)

Yoda Fountain
Building B Courtyard
1 Letterman Drive
San Francisco, CA 94129

"People come from all over the world to visit the Yoda statue at Industrial Light & Magic," says Atherton. "ILM is the VFX company Lucas started to do the visual effects for the original Star Wars, and it's still one of the most successful and influential VFX studios. It was really amazing to get to make our own little love letter to Star Wars right where real Star Wars is made." See the statue above the decorative fountain in the courtyard of the 23-acre Lucasfilm campus in the Presidio. Remember, Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center is a workplace, not a tourist attraction. However, visitors are often allowed into the lobby to view the life-size Boba Fett and Darth Vader, mini figurines of Chewbacca and other characters on the bookshelves, replicas of light sabers, blasters, head bust artwork from Star Wars movies, plus framed iconic movie posters.

(credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Walt Disney Family Museum
104 Montgomery St.
San Francisco, CA 94129

While you're in the Presidio, don't miss the Walt Disney Family Museum. Conceived by his own daughter, the museum is dedicated to the vast creative genius of Walt Disney. Since Star Wars was acquired by Disney Studios in 2012, you can connect the dots from this museum right through to the very latest Star Wars film. Here's a must-see attraction for any true enthusiast of the evolution of animation. On May 4, 2016, the museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Autodesk Design Gallery
One Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94105

The Autodesk Gallery has 20-plus changing exhibits on display that illustrate the role technology plays in great design and engineering, including original works by Lego, Mercedes-Benz, Nike and more. Creators of Maya, the 3D software animation platform used in Star Wars, explains,"The world of cinema is constantly turning itself upside down with new technological breakthroughs. And none has been more dramatic than the introduction of 3D environments." The gallery is open to the public every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, with a guided tour at 12:30 pm every Wednesday, so it's perfect for May the Fourth.

Star Wars Fans (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

PianoFight Theater
144 Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 816-3691

It's a May the Fourth Star Wars party at this full service restaurant and bar with cabaret stages and two intimate theaters, where they usually have a live band playing before and after shows. They promise cold beers, delicious food, no drink minimums and no ticket fees. PianoFight puts on their May the Fourth production at 7 p.m. Space is limited, so reserve online for a free booking and see how the show unfolds.

(credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Skywalker Vineyards
5858 Lucas Valley Rd
Nicasio, CA 94946
(415) 662-1000

Cinema is not the only passion connected to Star Wars' creator George Lucas. Fine wine is being produced on Skywalker Ranch in Marin. "There are some other Bay Area ties to Star Wars, such as Skywalker Ranch and 32Ten Studios, but unfortunately those aren't open to the public," Atherton says. The best you can do is to raise a glass in honor of May the Fourth -- if you can get ahold of a bottle of the highly rated, small production Skywalker Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. According to the website, "Lucas was inspired and encouraged by the success of his friend Francis Coppola's winemaking endeavors." In fact, the Skywalker Vineyards winemaker, Scott McLead, was previously director of winemaking at the Francis Ford Coppola estate in Napa.

Star Wars LEGO Stormtroopers (credit: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A Child's Delight
190 Northgate One
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 499-0736

Shop for the LEGO Star Wars Summer 2016 sets and First Order Stromtrooper 30602. May the Fourth releases toys within a few miles of the source of Star Wars beginnings. In San Rafael, Lucasfilm was founded by filmmaker George Lucas in 1971 before most of the operation was moved to San Francisco in 2005. At this San Rafael toy store, in business for nearly two decades, Star Wars LEGO is a popular choice. They also have locations in Corte Madera and in Fillmore Street, San Francisco.

This article was written by Laurie Jo Miller Farr via for CBS Local Media

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