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Prepare to give thanks on International Tom Hanks Day

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

If you're the type of person who can quote lines from Forrest Gump on command or the kind of masochist willing to subject yourself to The Da Vinci Code film adaptation and its various sequels and prequels, you probably already know about International Tom Hanks Day. The unofficial holiday is the brainchild of Chicago native Kevin Turk, who founded the annual celebration with a group of friends while he was attending Western Michigan University. Now entering its 13th year, the official Chicago celebration will once again take place at Lincoln Hall on April 2, with satellite events in states like Ohio, Alabama and Michigan.

As usual, attendees at this year's International Tom Hanks Day party will be asked to make a donation of $10 to Lifeline Energy, Tom Hanks's favorite charity, which supports energy, education and health organizations in sub-Saharan Africa. The donation gives revelers access to $3 beer specials and the ability to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win items donated by Hanks himself. Previous years' prizes have included autographed Wilson volleyballs (like the one in Cast Away) and signed Forrest Gump movie posters. The centerpiece of the event will be a marathon screening of Tom Hanks films. This year, organizers will take requests and play the most popular films (something tells us Cloud Atlas won't make the cut).

Whether you consider yourself to be a Tom Hanks fanatic or just want to show your appreciation for Colin Hanks's dad, you'll want to show up at Lincoln Hall on April 2 from noon–5pm to pay your respects to the nicest guy in Hollywood.

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