You’ve just bought your tickets and Star Wars Celebration Chicago is less than a year away, so of course there are a lot of you who need advice for the awesomeness that awaits you! So while we are all anxiously awaiting next April, check out this guide to surviving and enjoying the best damn Star Wars event on the planet!
Get Some Shoes!
This is imperative for any convention. Unless you are cosplaying, always have something light and comfortable even if the design is not your favorite. You are going to be on your feet for a long time (at least 12 hours) and your feet will hurt. Treat your dogs right and rest them at night.
Carry a Backpack (with these 10 imperative items)
A good backpack with a lot of compartments is essential to carrying everything you need like chap stick, band-aids and plastic bags for t-shirts or for padding delicate items you may have purchased.
Here’s the most important items:
- Deodorant <– This is KEY! Remember to use it after a while and help keep the smells around you pleasant. If only everyone followed this advice!
- Phone charger and portable battery charger – Duh! You’re going to use your phone all day. Make sure it works.
- Bottled water, caffeine and snacks – Cheez-Its and Chex Mix will help you fuel during the day. Con food is always expensive!You will also need to hydrate throughout the day so bring water and any energy drinks you like.
- Chapstick and/or sunscreen – Depending on how sensitive you are to the elements may be.
- Hand sanitizer – Because you’ll be touching a lot of things and you will need it. Trust me.
- Mints/Gum – You want good breath in case you happen to bump into Emilia Clarke unexpectedly!
- Poster tube – You never know when you’re going to get a poster and you want something to protect it, especially if you happen to get someone to sign it!
- Selfie Stick – When a big crowd is blocking your view, a selfie stick may come in handy! For those of you late to the Slave Leias photo op, you will definitely need one here!
- Cash – Don’t bring all your money in cash form but it’s good to have $50 – $100, just in case, for food, transportation and of course, buying Star Wars stuff!
- Hat/Sunglasses – Protect yourself from the elements…especially your eyes after being inside for nearly 12 hours!
Go Line Up Early!
Even if you don’t think an event or panel will be popular, in my experience, it’s always best to get to anything early and I mean EARLY. Even it you are going to stay up all night for the opening panel (or whichever one has a trailer reveal), Get.There.Early. I can’t stress this enough.
At a certain point in the overnight line, usually around 5 or 6 AM, staff members will hand out wristbands that guarantee you a spot in the panel so that you can go back to your room and get some sleep or whatnot. My best advice? Don’t do it. Get a wristband in case and stay in line, especially if you are close to the front because you want a good seat for the panel you’re waiting for, right? Which leads me to my next point…
Make Friends (Talk to People!)
While you’re standing in line all day and/or night, talk to people around you. We’re all here for Star Wars so you have something in common already. The point of Celebration is to mingle and share the fandom with one another. It’s also good to at least let those around you know you’re in line in case you have to go the bathroom or grab some quick overpriced food or drinks.
Print Out All of Your Tickets/Autograph/Hotel Reservations
You don’t want a glitch or a mistake to be the reason you don’t get to meet Mark Hamill. After you pay for your autographs or photos online, print out your tickets and keep them in your backpack. Basically: print out anything that will get you something you already paid for.
Plot Your Days Out/Use the App (“I beg you”)
In the past, Star Wars Celebration has put out an app for iPhone and Android that tells you what panels and events are in what rooms. Plot out what you want to do each day, starting with the earliest event or the one you’re most excited about. If it’s an exhibit, get there super early. I got into the Force Awakens exhibit early one morning and there were no crowds. Throughout the day, the line wrapped around the hallway as I walked past it smiling.
You won’t get to do everything you plotted out (that’s a guarantee) so make ’em count. Have as much fun as you can. You definitely will.
Be Respectful and Have Fun!
SWC is all about fun and community and togetherness. We are all here for the same reason and there’s no need to be mean towards others – That con exclusive shirt or action figure isn’t worth hurting someone over! Ask cosplayers if you can take their photo. Most of them will say yes and will help you get a good shot!
Keep your eyes and ears open at all times! You never know when you may unexpectedly run into a celebrity or if one wants to visit the crowd at some random point in the day. Anthony Daniels is always lurking around the lines and is usually happy to take a quick selfie!
Hopefully this guide will help you maximize your time at Celebration. SWC, as is any convention, is a never ending learning experience that you have to experience yourself.
Be awesome to each other and may the Force be with you. See you in 2019, Chicago!