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Festival Gives Thanks For Tom Hanks

By Selena Fragassi in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 27, 2015 6:30PM

Chicago has always had a good rapport with Tom Hanks. The actor has filmed some of his classics like Nothing in Common and Road to Perdition about town and, in later years, has been a regular old college dad visiting his rapper son Chet Haze during his enrollment at Northwestern University.

The actor’s greatest connection to our city, though, might be the establishment of the local holiday, International Tom Hanks Day. A celebration of this festive date comes to Lincoln Hall for its 12th edition this Saturday, March 28 from 12 to 5 p.m. with screenings, merch, raffles and a typewriter where you can draft the actor a letter (he actually reads them).

Though it was first started as an all-day movie marathon by college roommates on April 1, 2004, the festival is no joke with parties continuing to multiply all over the country, the world and recognized by the actor himself. Hanks has posted about it on his social media accounts and once gave it a national shout-out during an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show.

He’s also personally met with the organizer, Groupon employee Kevin Turk, and sends him autographed memorabilia to be raffled off each year, such as Dr. Pepper bottles from Forrest Gump, signed Wilson volleyballs referencing Castaway, DVDs and a Simpsons cartoon character of himself, according to DNAinfo Chicago. All proceeds are donated to Lifeline Energy, a nonprofit that “provides solar-powered and wind-up radios preloaded with educational lessons on health, climate and sustainability to isolated areas around the world.” Hanks is a U.S. ambassador of the charity.

Though the actor has not shown up in person to the event just yet, that is the hope someday.

Tickets are $5, which includes an insulated can holder. Drink specials will be available.