A few weeks ago now I ventured to a city far far away, Chicago. It was the hosting city this year for the typically bi-annual Star Wars Celebration. For those of you who aren’t avid Star Wars Fanatics (much like I was before this experience), you may wonder what it’s all about.
Star Wars Celebration (noun): A large gathering of fans of all ages, shapes and sizes from all over the world. They come in celebration of the stories of Star Wars, spanning 40 years. They are a friendly lot of people, who support one another and celebrate their love for the movies, tv shows, costumes and stories of Star Wars.
I should mention it is around 100,000 people doing this. Yep. Greater than the population of Saint John in a convention center for 5 days. It is something to behold.
Now to be honest, I have been to other pop culture/comic conventions, so I felt prepared going into Star Wars Celebration. I knew, roughly what I was getting into. But I have to say, seeing it through the eyes of my husband, who is a hardcore Star Wars fan, and our close friends who have never experienced a convention of this size was part of the fun.
While the event itself had its fair share of technical issues, and depending on who you ask, the technical changes they made this year were loved or hated, with no in between, the fans and the event itself held its own, all the technology glitches aside.
At first, I couldn’t imagine how I’d fill 5 full days at this convention, especially not being a hardcore fan like my husband. But, between scheduling of panels we wanted to see, the lines with the other 100k people, time flew by and I left Monday night wondering what I may not have seen or done at all!
Our time there was filled with panels, previews, shopping, autographs, and photo-ops! But more interestingly, walking the convention floor and seeing Cosplay, talking to the cosplayers and asking them about their creations was equally as fun! The number of creators in the Star Wars fandom is inspiring. From the Cosplayers to the 501st and Mandalorian Mercs and the Droid Builders, there is no shortage of creativity and talent among their ranks. Seeing how these makers/creators all come together under the Star Wars banner is something to see, and makes you realize how much of an impact it has had on generations of fans.
Now I will openly admit, I was pleasantly surprised about the instant community I felt each day heading to McCormick place for Celebration. From the hotel lobby staff, who had completely embraced getting to know the fans staying there and asking about it everyday, to the rideshare drivers or bus driver who were genuinely excited that we chose Chicago to spend our weekend “Celebrating”.
As a “First timer” to Star Wars Celebration, I had a great time. But, I’ll also admit I think I would have a good time with Chris, Stacey and Walker no matter the time or place. The company you keep on trips like this can absolutely make or break it and by far these folks made it!
Coming home from something so big is much like same blues that set in after a big vacation or a big life event. You have been looking forward to it for so long, and then it’s over and suddenly you aren’t planning the next thing but still processing everything from the trip.
Now that I’ve had about a month to process the sights and sounds and inspiration from the trip I’ve made a few realizations. I really want to Cosplay, but I’ve always held back because of the fear of it not looking perfect. Since coming home from Celebration I’ve been dreaming of a Hera Syndulla Cosplay as well as finishing my Peggy Carter (which is half sewn already!). So I’ve been slowly building an inspiration board and looking at the pieces I need to create Hera. But I’ve also been heavily inspired to make a Ashoka Clone Armour. Based on the teaser for the Clone Wars and the Trailer I really loved the look of Rex’s Ashoka helmet and want one! So as you can see, my list is growing. I promise to check in after the next few months on progress. I hope that I can keep the motivation and complete something, even possibly by Impossible Realities in September.
I had originally planned a second post about Celebration and talking about that could have been improved and such. But now that I’ve taken a month to just let things settle, while there were technical issues, it was an awesome time and by the time I go to the next Celebration (whenever that might be) hopefully those issues are resolved.