Acting legend Tom Hanks will be celebrated – and money raised for his favorite charity – at a party in Chicago commemorating the 9th annual International Tom Hanks Day on Saturday, March 31.

The festivities take place from Noon-6:00 p.m. at Fizz Bar & Grill, 3220 N. Lincoln Ave., in Chicago’s West Lake View neighborhood.

Hanks’ comedy “Big” will be the movie theme at this year’s party. This is the first time the celebration will sport a theme. As such, guests are encouraged to be creative with attire, etc., that pays homage to that popular 1988 film.

Admission to the party is free, but a $5 donation allows guests to buy PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) beers for only $1. It also gives them one raffle ticket for a chance to win actor/movie memorabilia. (More raffle tickets can be purchased at an additional cost.) The afternoon also includes music and a screening of Big and other Hanks’ movies.

Celebrated worldwide, Tom Hanks Day’s humble origins started in 2004 on the couch of a few Western Michigan University students in Kalamazoo. It’s held each year on the Saturday preceding April 1. Over the years, this annual tradition for fans (and non-fans) alike has grown in popularity.

The day’s proceeds benefit Lifeline Energy (formerly known as the Freeplay Foundation), the actor’s favorite charity. Tom is their US ambassador.

Lifeline Energy is a non-profit social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar-powered and wind-up radios, MP3 players and solar panels. The proceeds raised will go towards providing Lifeplayer MP3s and Prime radios to the Zambian Ministry of Education’s Learning at Taonga Market initiative. The program offers vulnerable Zambian children a primary school education through pre-recorded school radio programs. Lifeline Energy’s solar-powered radios and MP3 players provide listening access.

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