I've attended all 5 U.S. based Star Wars Celebrations, and to date this was the best one yet. I know there were a few minor issues, but with 28,000 Star Wars fans it is to be expected. I think both Reed and Lucasfilm deserve a round of applause for their joint effort!
Wednesday, August 11th I landed in Orlando, Florida for the best four days of Star Wars. I met up with Mike Barrick at the airport and we eventually made it over to the convention center after a few detours. Once inside Eric Geller met up with us to give us our admission badges. While trying to get back in the main hall an elderly security woman insisted that Eric wasn't old enough to go in yet. We got a good laugh out of that, even more so when it happened every time we left and had to return!
Once inside I wanted to see the space Philip had lined up for us within the OPX ( Official Pix ) autograph hall. This year we would have a dedicated presence for all three websites, Rebelscum.com, TheForce.net & ForceCast.net. Usually we're crammed into the back of the OPX HQ, but this time we had our own space to promote the websites, and it was so nice! All day long as we proceeded to set up, additional team members arrived. It was great to see everyone get along so well. We joked around with each other as if we had just been together the previous day. Some of us had never met or we last saw some at Celebration IV in LA.
With our banners up and equipment set, it was time to explore the floor! I always love watching the show come to life from the inside. It's not something everyone can experience, but it really makes you appreciate the show. As we wandered around like kids in a candy store, I noticed Ashley Eckstein ( Voice of Ahsoka Tano ) setting up the Her Universe booth. First I was surprised, but then remembered how much of a fan Ashley truly is. We said a quick hello and then I saw it, a HUGE TIE INTERCEPTOR being built! The guys from Belgium set up several replica sets or ships, and need to be at every show from here on out. Hell give them a budget to make more sets while you're at it! Two thumbs up for those guys!
After exploring as much as we could, we returned to the booth to make sure we had everything. We discussed our our plan of execution for tomorrow morning set up for Day 1 as we strolled back to the hotel. After dinner we all met up again in the hotel lobby for drinks and to socialize with other Star Wars fans. I loved hanging out with everyone from both team Rebelscum and TFN. I've been actively working on Star Wars related web content now for over 10 years. Many of them with this group of people we had assembled at Celebration V. They're my friends and they make the Celebration experience much more meaningful to me. We've all fought at times, disagreed on topics, and created secret email lists that I was left off of, but one thing remains true. We all are still very passionate about Star Wars, and bringing the best coverage of it to you the fans. No Fan Left Behind!
I'm not going to get into a play by play report for each day of the convention. Instead I will give you a few of my personal highlights from the show. I've got a photo gallery right here from the show. The photos were mostly taken with my Blackberry. I spent a lot of time tweeting from the floor as the show happened. I do have to repeat that this was the best one yet!
-Seeing my mother again. My mom worked C IV in LA and loved it so much she came back to help again. She was working the register for OPX, perhaps you bought your autograph tickets from her? We've been unable to visit for a long time so it was great to see her!
-Meeting Mike Barrick. Mike's been on our team for what seems like forever and has never been to a show. It was great to finally meet him and initiate him into the family. (One of us! One of us! One of us!)
-Same room as George Lucas. I wanted to go to the MAIN EVENT so bad, but early one morning everything changed. I woke up late and pinged Chris H. to inform him. His reply was "hurry up, you're missing George". I jumped up and ran over to the convention center, up the escalator and through the doors to the main hall, just in time. There he was, George Lucas near the Gentle Giant booth along with Steve Sansweet. There was a decent size crowd moving along with the maker as he checked everything out. I quickly weaseled my way to the front for a few good snaps which I quickly tweeted. Oh my god, not only was I in the same room as George, but only a few feet away! I could smell his beard! Amazing! As he moved out of the main hall towards the R2 Builders room, Mary Franklin announced that we could no longer tag along. Which was cool with me cause I was happy as a Wampa in a snow cave!
-TheForce.net Fan Force Jedi Council Party. The TFN party was a blast! Organized by Dajuan and her crew of volunteers, guests could eat, drink, dance, and mingle. Raffle tickets were being sold up front and we ended up winning a few items, including this cool yoda hat! There was even opportunity to rub elbows with Dave Filoni and the cast of The Clone Wars! I even bumped into Seth Green!
-501st Party. Whoa, these guys know how to party! Special thanks to my man "Redeye" for the hook up! We had a blast!
-Her Universe Fashion Show. I had former Star Wars Fan Club President Dan Madsen ask me to participate in Ashley Eckstein's Her Universe fashion show. I really had fun with this one. I went out, and danced around only to have Jimmy Mac run up on stage for the first annual Her Universe dance off! However, once done, crowd reaction was in my favor this time!
-Live ForceCast shows. It's always a pleasure to login every Wednesday night to watch Jason record the ForceCast live with Jimmy Mac. However, nothing beats them live in front of a live audience! These two feed off the crowd and the energy of the show. They knocked out three top notch shows from Celebration V, along with interviews and much more to come.
-Daniel Logan. What can I say about Daniel Logan? Daniel has become a good friend over the many years we've been doing these shows. Heck I've watched him grow up on the road and we've had a lot of great times over the years. This show was a blast and I thank Daniel for adding the fun factor as usual!
-Various fan groups. I loved seeing all of the various fan groups and clubs who were set up at Celebration V. In particular, The Rebel Legion, 501st, and R2 Builders. Each had dedicated space to decorate which helped fans feel like they were transported to that galaxy far, far away.
There never seems to be enough time at these shows. I averaged 4 hours of sleep per night and by Monday morning could not wait to get home to take a nap!. It was great seeing all of my friends and family again. I have so much fun at these events catching up with old friends and making new ones. Much of the show seems to fly by so fast that it is sometimes hard to remember it all. I know I'm missing a few folks to thank or mention on here. However, I can't end this without thanking Philip Wise. Without his support none of this would be possible. Also, thanks to everyone from team Rebelscum, TFN, and The ForceCast. Thanks for your dedication, time, and effort! See you all at the next one!