April 5, 2063 marks a pivotal moment in the history of humankind. It's the day scientist Zefram Cochrane first achieves warp drive in his Phoenix spacecraft. It's also the day Vulcans first arrive on Earth and say "hello," making it First Contact Day. And we're going to celebrate in Star Trek style.
Sure, 2063 is far off into the future, but we Trekkies have faith in the vision. We also have documentation of the fateful day in the form of the 1996 movie Star Trek VIII: First Contact featuring the Next Generation crew of Captain Picard and the gang.
Here's how to get your star party on for one of the sci-finest of holidays:
Watch First Contact
The Star Trek movie franchise has an up-and-down reputation (I'm looking at you,), but First Contact is one of the good ones. So break out your favorite streaming-video service or dust off your DVD and give the movie a fresh watch.
First Contact has the relentless alien presence of the Borg, time travel, a visit to Earth, a key moment of Trek lore (successful warp drive), Vulcans and some engagingly goofy moments of banter. It's a heady Trek cocktail that plays out like a truly great episode of Next Generation.
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Actor James Cromwell played Cochrane in First Contact, but you can see Glenn Corbett in the role for the 1967 original-series episode Metamorphosis, which offers an intriguing conclusion to the warp drive inventor's life story.
Can't get enough of Cromwell? He also made a brief cameo appearance in the first episode of the TV series Enterprise, Broken Bow.
To get an idea of how important First Contact Day is to the larger Star Trek universe, watch the Voyager episode Homestead, which kicks off with a groovy-looking party marking the 315th anniversary of the occasion. Captain Janeway even mentions how she used to get a day off from school, putting it on the same level as any major holiday.
Set the soundtrack
Zefram Cochrane liked to get down to his favorite tunes played on a jukebox. Your party mix should include Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf and Ooby Dooby by Roy Orbison.
Here's a brief snippet of the scintillating lyrics from Ooby Dooby: "Ooby dooby, ooby dooby/Ooby dooby dooby dooby/Dooby dooby do wah do wah do wah." This was the first Earth song Vulcans ever heard after first contact, but that didn't dissuade them from getting to know us.
Eat cheese pierogies
This may seem like a strange food choice in a Star Trek culinary universe full of Romulan ale and crawling Klingon fare, but cheese pierogies are Cochrane's favorite food.
The Doctor dismisses them as having "absolutely no nutritional value" in the Voyager episode Homestead. But ignore him. They are still the party food of choice for the Voyager crew celebrating First Contact Day, and they should be for you, too.
Drink some whiskey
You probably won't want to take this part of the party to the extreme Cochrane does in First Contact, but it's well-established he loves to tipple. He even pours some drinks for the visiting crew of the Enterprise in Metamorphosis. His drinking habits are highlighted in First Contact when he declares he has a "four-alarm hangover" just prior to making history with his warp drive.
There's really no wrong way to celebrate First Contact Day. So go ahead and wear your favorite uniform, greet everyone with the Vulcan salute or just binge your way through your favorite Trek.
And remember ... we have only 44 years left to wait before the Vulcans show up.
Originally published April 5, 2018.