My prep work Celebration VI starts over a month before the show. It sounds crazy, but I'm busy putting together the information about the guests, artists, exhibitors and panels for the Rebelscum.com Guide. In addition, this year I helped laminate some of the over 500 badges we produced for forum members, celebrities and friends of the site. But all that prep work, just makes the start of the convention much easier to navigate.
Some of the best parts about coming to Celebration is the time spent in the convention center before the general public comes in. It's especially amazing to see the transformation of the Exhibit Hall from Wednesday to Thursday when the doors open for the public. On Wednesday evening when we leave the convention center, there's boxes everywhere; half the booths aren't finished; a lot of the carpet is not laid down yet. And then, as if some intergalactic Santa Claus arrived overnight, the entire exhibit hall has magically transformed for the next morning!
This year was my fourth Celebration, and I think the best one of them all. There was just such a great vibe of positive energy at this show. Fans had more opportunities than ever before to get into some great panels, meet a ton of amazing guests, and collect plenty of swag!
Some of the highlights for me include: -Taking part on the 'Inside the ForceCast' panel on the Fan Stage. Getting a real behind-the-scenes view of that panel was something special, and I was indeed honored to be asked by Jason and Jimmy to be part of it.
-Working at the Washington DC Metro Area Star Wars Collecting Club (DCSWCC) booth. My local collecting club is a powerful force in the fan community. This year was no exception as we produced a piece of the multi-club patch from The Clone Wars, debuted the newest charity pin, as well as had six of our members work with the club to produce a extremely limited Millennium Falcon patch set. Plus, our unique booth won the award for Best Fan Club Booth!
-Experiencing "Smuggler's Gambit" LIVE! This was on my bucket list of things to do at the show. And I was happy to lend my support to teammate Jimmy Mac as he provided the aural tapestry for this radio play.
-Meeting friends, old and new. This is a great excuse to get to hang out with a diverse group of people. Where else can I interact with people from all over the world, and know that we'll all have somethign to talk about.
-Giving Jason Swank a different birthday gift each day. For people that have heard the story on the ForceCast wrap up show, that was only part of it! Suffice to say, that each day of the show (except Friday - that day was just TOO busy!) I gave Jason a non-Star Wars related gift, with an appropriate amount of schtick, 'natch! This culminated with a beautiful piece of artwork that we presented to him on the live ForceCast show on Sunday!
Four or five days just does not seem like enough time to experience everything there is at a Star Wars Celebration. And it's not. But it is a great oppurtunity to build some amazing memories that will last a lifetime. And of course, there's one person, who cannot go without the thanks for making these opportunities: Philip Wise. His dedication to the various websites (Rebelscum.com/TheForce.net/ForceCast.net) and his friendship with all the staff members are what sets him apart. Thank you Philip!